Roundabout for high-crash intersection on North Street

Press Release – Timaru District Council

Traffic safety, vehicle flow, cyclist and pedestrian safety and high-grade road surfacing will be priorities for the Timaru District Council as it begins a major improvement of the North Street -Wilson Street-Woodlands Road intersection in Timaru.February 29, 2012

Roundabout for high-crash intersection on North Street

Traffic safety, vehicle flow, cyclist and pedestrian safety and high-grade road surfacing will be priorities for the Timaru District Council as it begins a major improvement of the North Street -Wilson Street-Woodlands Road intersection in Timaru.

A roundabout is to be installed at the busy intersection designed to reduce the number of crashes there. The intersection currently sits as the worst in the Timaru District for crashes over the last five years.

Timaru District Council land transport manager Andrew Dixon said work on the new roundabout would begin on March 12 and was expected to take 10 weeks to complete. The upgrade would start with the relocation of water services.

“All practical steps will be undertaken to minimise traffic delays during this time, but the work will mean some inconvenience to motorists using the intersection and could involve some detours at a later date,” Mr Dixon said.

“However, the public would be kept informed and contractors Fulton Hogan would be doing everything possible to reduce inconvenience including introducing lanes and early-warning signage.

Making the district’s worst crash record outside of State Highways, the location of the intersection meant two busy arterial traffic streams converged and was made more difficult to negotiate because two streets for north-south traffic were offset.

Mr Dixon said traffic count statistics showed more than 5000 vehicles a day travelled through the intersection along North Street and about 3000 vehicles passed through heading north-south along Wilson Street and Woodlands Road.

“On top of that, a large proportion of those vehicles are heavy trucks and buses and the mix created some hazards that the roundabout will remove,” he said.

The roundabout had been designed for heavy vehicles with a lower outer island that large vehicles can drive on when turning, Mr Dixon said.

The roundabout surface would be smooth hot-mix and would be matched in with the rest of North Street that would also be hot-mixed soon after.

The roundabout layout, designed by Opus Consultants, would also feature a shared pedestrian-cyclist portion keeping that traffic safer and more isolated from vehicles.

Roundabouts have become more and more in favour throughout the county when increasing traffic flows have made some intersections dangerous. They offer better traffic flow than Stop, Give Way or signals and reduce crashes by removing the risk of right-angle and head-on collisions.

Mr Dixon said roundabouts also lowered intersection speeds.

ENDS

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