New traffic lights at one of Hamilton's busiest intersections where switched on today leaving Hamilton City Council staff and Councillors confident it will mitigate safety and congestion issues at the site.
The Thomas Rd/Gordonton Rd intersection, which has been undergoing upgrade work since late last year, will be under traffic light control Wednesday April 10.
Hamilton City Council's City Transportation Unit Manager, Jason Harrison, says the intersection which is used by approximately 16,000 vehicles per day often becomes heavily congested at peak times resulting in motorists taking unnecessary risks.
"This is one of the city's busiest intersections and this upgrade will enable the intersection to cope with traffic flows better while also supporting the Council's Vision Zero aspiration — the philosophy for road safety to achieve zero road deaths and serious injuries within Hamilton," Mr Harrison says.
"In order to move towards our Vision Zero goal, it is our responsibility to provide a more forgiving roading network, so when mistakes are made the consequences aren't as severe. It's because of this philosophy we fast-tracked the upgrade at the Thomas Rd/Gordonton Rd intersection," says Mr Harrison.
Cr Mark Bunting, says it was important the Council responded quickly to address the safety issue at the intersection before anyone else got hurt.
"This has been a long process and at times it has seemed painstakingly slow, but thanks to the great work from the Council staff, NZ Transport Agency and other key stakeholders this major upgrade has been done as fast as possible and I am incredibly grateful for that," says Cr Bunting.
As well as the traffic lights, other safety measures have also been put in place at the intersection and along the Gordonton Rd corridor including a new 60kmh speed limit and the introduction of raised safety platforms (RSPs) — a new safety innovation being implemented in partnership with NZ Transport Agency.
RSPs are elevated sections of road intended to reduce vehicle speeds at locations where there is a possibility of vehicles crashing if a mistake is made, such as at signalised intersections.
However, one of the notable differences between the platforms and conventional speed humps, is that the platforms use a much gentler ramp to achieve the desired speed reduction. This enables them to be safely used in higher speed environments.
Over the next week, installation of the platforms on the intersection approaches will start and traffic lights will begin operating at the intersection. Road users are asked to be careful and patient while everyone gets used to this new change at the intersection.
Some berm work and final road marking will continue after the main work has completed with the site staying controlled through a traffic management plan until Easter.
The upgrade is part of the Council's $887M 2018-28 10-Year Plan transport programme investment to deliver a balanced transport system through: enabling growth and improving safety and transport choice.
Over the next three years the Council is investing in other major transport projects in Hamilton, including:
•Citywide walking and cycling network links.
•Network safety improvements.
•Public transport network upgrades.
•New road connections in growth areas.