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Auckland's dodgy intersections revealed

KARINA ABADIA, JENNY LING
Last updated 05:00 14/05/2014
Scott Bidwell

WATCH OUT: Scott Bidwell has seen several accidents on K’ Rd involving cyclists and motorcyclists.

 Glenn Burnnand
TURNING NIGHTMARE: Ngapipi Rd boat builder Glenn Burnnand says making a right turn on to Tamaki Drive is a risky business.
Sara Reyes
ACTION REQUIRED: Western Springs resident Sara Reyes says the intersection of Great North Rd and Bullock Track is a disaster.

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Dodgy intersections around the country are being targeted in a multi-agency effort to improve road safety.

The top 100 most dangerous junctions in New Zealand have been ranked using road crash statistics and will be upgraded. Fourteen of the worst are in central Auckland.

Karina Abadia and Jenny Ling spoke to people who work or live near three of these high frequency crash sites.

Tamaki Drive and Ngapipi Rd

Tamaki Drive and Ngapipi Rd is the fourth most hazardous intersection in Auckland and ranks tenth out of the 100 high risk intersections.

Ngapipi Rd boatshed owner Glenn Burnnand supports the decision to install lights at the intersection.

He's seen plenty of crashes in the 15 years he's worked in the area and won't even try to turn right on to Tamaki Drive.

"For me to go down to Okahu Bay from the boat sheds I've got to turn left and head down to the Coastguard and then turn around and come all the way back."

It's the faster and safer option, he says.

"If you're turning right you've got cars coming both ways and the ones coming over the bridge are picking up a bit of speed.

"You're contending with cyclists at the same time so you just take your life in your hands."

Ngapipi Rd resident Amy Vercoe says she hasn't witnessed any accidents at the intersection in the three years she's lived there but thinks it's an unsafe situation for cyclists.

"It's up to people to give way but sometimes they don't. The flashing lights don't always work and I'm always so scared of not seeing cyclists coming."

Karangahape Rd

Karangahape Rd is another accident hotspot. Three of the junctions listed are on the busy road and the intersection at Queen St ranks number 45 out of 100.

K' Rd business association precinct manager Barbara Holloway says one of the main problems with the intersection is you can't turn right onto Upper Queen St.

"You get people who arrive there and they can't make a right turn which is unexpected at such a major intersection. So they illegally turn.

"Then because of the way the pedestrian island is structured you sometimes get pedestrians running that gap, which is fine if there's no-one illegally turning.

"It's fair to say it's a dog's breakfast of an intersection and there's a whole lot of issues around it. It needs a major reconfiguration."

Scott Bidwell has worked at the K'Rd Rock Shop for five years and seen plenty of minor crashes.

He once saw a motorcyclist collide with a car. The impact was so strong the car door panel was smashed in and hanging from its hinges.

His colleague Paul Barry says speed is often a factor.

"I think it's just people being reckless and in a hurry," he says.

"The traffic backs up on Karangahape Rd heading towards the motorway on-ramp which means people turning right push it to get through the lights."

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The fact the intersection is on top of a hill is another issue, he says.
"Coming up on either side of Queen St you don't really see much. If someone is doing something stupid you're not going to see it till you're right there. I think the solution is less people driving and more people getting on their bikes."

Great North Rd and Bullock Track

Great North Rd and Bullock Track is the third most dangerous intersection in Auckland and ranks number seven on the list of 100 worst intersections in New Zealand.

Thane Murray is a sales consultant at Fast 4s Prestige on the corner of Great North Rd and Bullock Track.

"It's badly designed. Every week a car would scream on its brakes and just about have an accident. It's so dangerous."

Sara Reyes has lived opposite Bullock Track for the past 22 years and says it's very dangerous.

Several times a week she hears the screech of brakes and runs outside to see what she can do to help, often waiting with injured people until an ambulance arrives.

"It's really scary for me. You don't know how bad it's going to be when you go out there and the people are in shock. It's terrible."

The main issue is drivers turning right out of Bullock Track onto busy Great North Rd and colliding with eastbound traffic.

INTERSECTION STATS/ PLANS

Tamaki Drive and Ngapipi Rd

Statistics from 2008 and 2012:  

Thirty seven crashes resulting in four serious injuries and 17 minor injuries within 100m of the intersection.

Right-turning vehicles were involved in 46 per cent of the crashes.

Eleven involved vehicles turning right from Tamaki Drive on to Ngapipi Rd and six involved drivers turning right from Ngapipi Rd.

Plans:

Auckland Transport put a plan for traffic lights at the intersection out for consultation with an alternative option of a roundabout in December and January.

Since then the decision has been made to signalise the intersection.

Related works include cycle lane greening, an additional left turn lane on Ngapipi Rd and a lane on the westbound approach to the intersection, signalised pedestrian crossing points and a shared path upgrade, and a sea wall extension to support future improvedhments.

Work is at the detailed design stage.

Proposed finish date: Early 2015.

Queen St and K Rd

Statistics from 2008 to 2012:

Thirteen minor crashes, five involving pedestrians and four cyclists.

Many of these crashes were at night  with drivers ignoring the lights.

Plans:

A phasing timing review, a lighting upgrade both at the intersection and along Karangahape Rd as well as a speed limit review from 50kmh to 40kmh along Karangahape Rd and the section of Queen St between Mayoral Drive and Karangahape Rd.

An information and safety campaign and the installation of a red light camera. 

Finish date: Early 2015.

Bullock Track and Gt North Rd

Statistics from 2008 to 2012: 

Fifty five crashes, 42 involving vehicles turning right out of Bullock Track colliding with oncoming eastbound traffic on Great North Rd.

Plans:

Modelling to work out the best ways to improve safety.

The impact of the Waterview Connection and St Lukes Road interchange projects are included.

Proposed finish date: Between 2015 and 2016. 

- Auckland City Harbour News

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