Brownlee joins fight for traffic lights at Christchurch intersection

FIGHT FOR UPGRADE: Ilam MP Gerry Brownlee has joined city councillor Aaron Keown's crusade to upgrade the contentious Breens, Harewood and Gardiners Rd intersection to lights and is going to approach NZTA about funding it.

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Ilam MP Gerry Brownlee has joined the battle to upgrade the contentious Breens, Harewood and Gardiners roads intersection and wants to see if New Zealand Transport Agency could help fund it.

Mr Brownlee said upgrading the intersection, which sees 10 lanes converging, to lights is “pretty essential” and is going to contact NZTA to “ask them what their posititon is.”

“Putting in lights is pretty essential, particularly when you’ve got Breens Intermediate so very close,” he said.

The former deputy leader of the National Party met with city councillor Aaron Keown last week to discuss the matter.

Cr Keown has fought upgrade the intersection for more than two years and previously offered $100 to anyone who could name another intersection in the city without lights, that has more lanes converging.

In a video posted on Mr Brownlee’s Facebook page last week, showing the pair standing at the intersection, Cr Keown said there is “a bit too much push back from council staff, giving us every reason why we shouldn’t have traffic lights.”

During Long Term Plan submissions earlier this year, Mayor Lianne Dalziel suggested lights might not be the best option for the upgrade and that in some cases, installing lights can often make an intersection busier and as a result, more unsafe.

Mr Brownlee said within minutes of standing at the intersection, he witnessed “a couple of near misses.”

He said there is a funding formula for these types of upgrades.

“Clearly the council offices have decided that it’s not something they want to recommend to councillors, which I think is disappointing and frankly kind of misses the point about making the intersection more user friendly and safer,” said Mr Brownlee.

“There is a formula that sees some NZTA money available for these sorts of things but I’m just going to find out exactly what the situation is by contacting them,” he said.

A report with recommended options for the upgrade will go to the Fendalton-Waimairi-Harewood Community Board in September.