Mataura to get traffic lights

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Traffic lights will be installed at the intersection of State Highway 1 and State Highway 93 on Mataura’s Main St.

The lights were the preferred option presented to a community information evening on Wednesday.

The report was prepared by the NZ Transport Agency.

Concerns about the intersection were raised last year after vehicles were forced to stop on the railway lines which run parallel with SH1 through the intersection.

Mataura School pupils also cross SH1 nearby.

Options ranged from increasing signage, 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.

The cost of the options ranged from $15,000 to $5 million plus.

Every option included the installing of new rail barrier arms which would cost $1 million.

After the meeting, community board chairman Alan Taylor said traffic lights were not the option the board would have chosen.

“The community board would have preferred to have seen room made for extra lanes or even possibly a roundabout.

“Time will tell if these improvements will future-proof the intersection with increasing volumes of traffic, especially heavy vehicles.

“It will slow the traffic which is good,” Mr Taylor said.

After many years of discussing the intersection it was pleasing to have a plan.

“To have an outcome now that is going to improve the safety is good.”

NZTA system manager Graeme Hall said the agency had been working with other stakeholders to discover what the issues with the intersection were and to review the options to get agreement as to the best option to deal with the issues.

“These discussions were with the understanding that our SafeRoads Alliance team was working with KiwiRail to place rail barrier arms at this main trunk line within the next two years,” Mr Hall said.

It has been agreed the traffic signals were the best option to address the state highway intersection safety issues.

“This work fitted well with the installation of rail barrier arm work.”

The NZTA was now exploring whether funding could be found to complete both tasks at the same time.

“At this stage we have no timing for undertaking this safety option.”

The agency’s SafeRoads Alliance team was already working on getting barrier arms for the rail crossing in this current three-year planning period ending June 2021.

“Ideally the traffic signals would follow that or be part of that intersection upgrade work,” Mr Hall said.

“However, if not, they would go into the next National Land Transport Planning period after 2021.”

Mataura School principal Susan Denison said she was very happy that children’s safety had been carefully considered.

“We are all thrilled that trucks will no longer go past the school in the middle of the afternoon when everyone is around,” she said.

“Good job Mataura Community Board.”