Changes at the busy Hamilton Junction have caused residents to fear crashes and deaths as drivers violate new council rules that they call “ridiculous”.
Since December, Hamilton City Council has imposed new traffic rules at the intersection of Onion and Ruffell Road, near the Te Rapa area.
Drivers going to Te Rapa are not permitted to turn left on Ruffell Road from Onion Rd, and people cannot turn right onto Onion Rd either.
Instead, they should drive approximately 100 meters to a roundabout on the Arthur Porter Dr and double back.
“It’s an absolute, very dangerous joke,” Resident Kim Kunchi.
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But the council says the rules are necessary to avoid collisions between trains and vehicles at a railroad crossing.
The road, near the Minfret and Fonterra factories, is a busy road for heavy trucks, cars and trains.
Konchi said drivers ignore the rules for not turning left or right, causing near misses.
“I don’t know if Tahiyyah was hit with one finger for everything.”
It’s almost been close twice recently as drivers illegally turn to Onion Rd.
“Probably 50 percent of people do what they are supposed to do and 50 percent do what they want.
“You have a huge sign in the spotlight that says there’s no right turn, no confusion, people just ignore the rules.”
when Things He visited the intersection on a Wednesday afternoon, and there were two accidents nearby, and one more on the road.
About 15 drivers broke the rules.
Fellow resident, Kate Hay, agrees that the impractical turnaround is “absurd” and believes the build-up will lead to accidents.
Hay said trucks should stop turning at the intersection, not cars.
She worries about collisions every time she drives by.
“This intersection was never designed to accommodate the number of trucks passing through it.
“There are 300 divisions coming in Te Kowhai, so this intersection will have more congestion in the future.”
Konchi said the council needed to take “urgent action” to change the rules again.
“Someone will die here.”
But city transportation unit director Jason Harrison said the current rules make the road safer.
KiwiRail has requested the changes. Before, heavy turnover trucks would litter over the center line and hit a bulkhead arm at a railroad crossing in the process.
Harrison said the railroad arm was injured seven times in 2020, the highest in the country.
Sometimes, this has meant that the bulkhead arm cannot descend when a train is approaching – putting you at risk of collision between cars and trains.
“KiwiRail told us the risk is too great.”
Harrison acknowledged that there had been “slight turbulence” at the intersection but urged drivers to follow the new rules.
“It’s not like we put this in place and then walked away.
“We have asked the police to patrol the area and have staff monitoring the intersection.”
Harrison described the rules as “temporary” and could change if KiwiRail relocates the railroad arm.
But the other option – and a last resort – was to close the railroad crossing together, causing long delays for motorists and a backlog of business in the area.
Harrison said that much of the problem could be solved by a planned road link with the Waikato Expressway connecting Arthur Porter and Cora Doctor.
But that’s not on the cards for another seven or eight years.
The public can submit to the Board on this completion date the next long-term plan advisory draft, within two months.
“There is an opportunity for people with concerns about timeframes to apply to the Board to move forward with this work, given the turmoil they face.”