The head of Christchurch transport is defending eighteen traffic light poles being set up in one of the city's quietest intersections.

The intersection of High and Tuam Streets was traffic-light free before the earthquakes.

But for the past 18 months, council contractors have been slowly and steadily erecting traffic light poles in the tightly condensed area.

Christchurch City Council head of transport Chris Gregory told Larry Williams Drive on Newstalk ZB it is a "highly complex intersection".

Photo / Supplied
Photo / Supplied

"It's all part of the design that was undertaken for the Christchurch central city recovery plan."

"[There's] complexity because there are a lot of uses around here, as well as the traffic on Tuam Street which is one of the critical links.

"We're also dealing here with an accessible cycleway and the future extension of the tram... theres going to be a lot of pedestrians around here.

"When the traffic light heads go on it'll become more obvious for what the poles are for.

"The use of this intersection is signifcantly changing... there will be a lot more pedestrians in this area... [it'll{ allow pedestrians and cyclists to get around as well as the traffic."

C1 Espresso cafe owner Sam Crofskey's business has been on the corner for the past 20 years and is yet to see one crash.

"Our cafe turned 20 yesterday and we've survived an earthquake and I've also survived crossing roads this whole time, so I'm doing a good job.

"This is a corner that used to have no anything on it. No traffic lights. It had zero before the earthquake and we were yet to see an accident here."


The council shouldn't be surprised that it would get hassled for creating such an eyesore, he said.

"They've been doing this one block for 18 months. And we all take the piss about how long this takes, but 18 months? The money that is getting poured into this kind of stuff, oh, I would do a better job [on council]."

Crofskey said he shouldn't be surprised by what happens in the city anymore, but he couldn't quite grasp what the council was thinking when they decided to target that intersection.

"I guess they're trying to build it for the future. Eighteen sets of traffic lights, and they all do different things: there's one for people crossing, bicycles, vehicles and trams, so there's no doubt that someone has thought it out but it might have been a bit early to jump the gun."

18 traffic light poles have been erected at the intersection of High and Tuam Sts in Christchurch. Photo / Facebook
18 traffic light poles have been erected at the intersection of High and Tuam Sts in Christchurch. Photo / Facebook

Despite having seen a bit of the world, the 18 traffic poles was a first for him.

"It's certainly something that I have never seen before and I have travelled a bit. I would be very interested to know if this is an international model of best practice.

"We've been here for 20 years and people have been able to quietly navigate this corner of town. Christchurch wants to compete on an international scale well, we haven't re-built the cathedral but this corner is all sorted.

"What I'm real excited about is, I've survived the earthquake and the re-build was a killer, I'm pretty sure they're finished on this corner. No one's coming back to put another traffic light in, surely. Maybe a roundabout.

"I'm standing right in front of it and it is full on. It's noise for my eyes. It really is like noise.

"I don't want people laughing at Christchurch and traffic management is something that drives me bats***, so she's an easy target."

Christchurch City Council could not provide the cost of the traffic poles, nor explain why 18 traffic signals were needed to control the intersection when contacted by Fairfax yesterday.