Intersection plans ‘good news’

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Traffic lights might once again be back on the drawing board for Eastern Southland.

A safety upgrade of the State Highway 1 and State Highway 93 intersection in Mataura has been included in the NZTransport Agency’s 2021Transport Programme announced last week.

Mataura Community Board chairman Alan Taylor said the announcement NZTA had included the upgrade of the intersection in the programme was ” exceptionally good news”.

The board had been lobbying for changes to the intersection for about 10 years, he said.

In 2019, NZTA presented community members with options ranging from increasing signage to putting in a roundabout, moving the railway line further east to allow space for a truck and trailer to stop, moving the state highway west to allow space for a truck and trailer to stop, using another road to bypass the intersection or installing traffic lights.

Barrier arms for the railway lines which bisect the intersection were included in every option.

These were estimated to cost $1 million in 2019.

Community members opted for traffic lights to be installed.

Last year the agency delayed funding for the upgrade.

An NZTA spokesman said the upgrade was still being evaluated by its safety team to see which category of funding it might fit under.

“Once we have a bit more clarity on that, we can have more assurance of its progression in the next three years.

“At this stage it is too soon to confirm any of the details discussed earlier to make it a safer intersection.”