Drivers, cyclists and pedestrians will need to have their wits about them when new traffic signals start operating at the Taupō Quay/St Hill St intersection.

Changes at the intersection have been happening for months as the Whanganui District Council alters the layout to incorporate Te Tuaiwi shared pathway. The pathway runs the length of St Hill St and joins up with the City Bridge and City to North Mole shared pathway.

Traffic signals being installed at the new T-intersection will be working by the end of September. The layout includes designated left and right turning lanes for all drivers and the council is warning road users to take care as they get to grips with the new system.

Road transport engineer Chris Thrupp says the new signals will improve safety for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians and eliminate vehicle/pedestrian conflicts by separating their phases.

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"The changes mean a much more efficient system for pedestrians and drivers," Thrupp said.

"The signals will be linked to those at the City Bridge and Ridgway St and have upgraded technology that adjusts to varying traffic flows and peaks.

"A fibre optic cable will be installed by the end of September the length of St Hill St so all signals can communicate with a central computer programme to co-ordinate green phases, promoting more efficient traffic flows."

Whanganui District Council is warning road users to be cautious as they get used to the new road layout.
Whanganui District Council is warning road users to be cautious as they get used to the new road layout.

Special sensors, similar to those for vehicles, beneath the shared pathway will detect approaching cyclists and will co-ordinate the cycle crossing phase. There will be separate pedestrian and cycle crossing lanes at the intersections.

Cyclists will need to push a specially-marked cycle button to activate the signal sequence. Mobility scooters, scooters and skateboards are legally classified as pedestrians so should use the pedestrian lane. There will be no diagonal crossing.

The traffic signal buttons are audio/tactile units that emit a sound and vibration to assist visually impaired people to cross safely.