Calls for traffic light on Yaldhurst Rd

BUSY: There has been 13 crashes at the Yaldhurst and Withells Rd intersection since 2013.

People in Avonhead and Russley are urging the New Zealand Transport Agency to install traffic lights sooner than it is planning at a “dangerous” intersection.

Residents have complained about safety at the Yaldhurst and Withells Rds intersection to NZTA and the city council since 2014. NZTA manages Yaldhurst Rd as it is part of State Highway 73.

NZTA senior traffic and
safety engineer David Scarlet said it is planning to design traffic lights in the current financial year.

Said Mr Scarlet: “We need to determine the design and then the estimated cost, then decide whether to proceed with construction.”

“If it goes ahead, it could be in 2019/20,” he said.

Avonhead Community Group chairman Somnath Sarkar Bagchi wants the traffic lights fast tracked.

Prof Bagchi said due to traffic increases, commuters are “risking their lives” at the intersection everyday.

“A few simple traffic lights installation should not take time like another two or three years.”

“I am glad that
finally NZTA has initiated some process
and thinking on this particular intersection,” he said.

Russley resident Trevor Michel-Smith frequently drives or cycles past the intersection.

While he has not witnessed a crash at the intersection himself, he has seen many near misses and said the intersection is dangerous.

Said Mr Michel-Smith: “At rush hour . . . people turning into Yaldhurst Rd from Withells Rd tend to get stuck there for a very long time and start making silly decisions and taking small gaps.”

“I’ve seen a number of those instances and it’s just getting worse as the traffic builds up in that area,” he said. NZTA is aware of people’s concerns about the intersection, Mr Scarlet said.

Most crashes at the intersection in the past five years have been during day-time and were caused by failure to give way to traffic on Yaldhurst Rd, Mr Scarlet said.

“As the traffic volumes increase on Yaldhurst Rd, it becomes more difficult for drivers to find a space to turn in and out of Withells Rd safely, hence the need to consider if traffic signals are needed.”