Hamilton City Council has been recognised as a leader in road safety at the NZ Traffic Institute (Trafinz) Conference in Hamilton this week for its work on the notorious Thomas Rd/Gordonton Rd intersection.
The council took home the Road Safety Leadership Award which recognises those organisations who have made an outstanding contribution and have demonstrated leadership in transport safety and sustainability.
The council's city transportation unit manager, Jason Harrison, said the award was well deserved recognition for the project team which worked hard to deliver safer roads for Hamiltonians.
"This is one of the city's busiest intersections and is used by around 16,000 vehicles each day. The upgrade allows the intersection to cope with traffic flows better particularly at peak times — and has significantly improved the safety at the site," Mr Harrison said.
Major safety improvements to the notorious intersection were fast-tracked by the council early last year after growing concerns and feedback from the community.
The improvements also support the council's Vision Zero aspiration — the philosophy for road safety to achieve zero road deaths and serious injuries within Hamilton.
"Safety is one of the four outcome areas of our city's transport strategy (Access Hamilton) and this project has focused on delivering a journey experience that is safe," says Mr Harrison.
As well as the traffic lights, other safety measures were also put in place at the intersection and along the Gordonton Rd corridor. These included a new 60km/h speed limit and the introduction of raised safety platforms (RSPs) — a new safety innovation implemented in partnership with NZ Transport Agency.
Councillor Mark Bunting said the intersection is an example of what's possible when elected members, central government, staff and contractors work together to fix a problem.
"It was hard going, but I'm incredibly proud of how everyone worked and the feedback I've received from the community has been amazing," Mr Bunting said.
The intersection was originally unsignalised and vehicles were typically passing through at average speeds of around 80 km/h. Following the upgrade, the average speeds through the intersection are well below 50km/h.