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Deaths on Ormiston Rd

SCOTT MORGAN
Last updated 08:39 22/11/2012
DEADLY
SCOTT MORGAN

UNDER DISCUSSION: Otara Tongan Methodist Church member Makahokovalu Tonga and Manukau East MP Ross Robertson discuss the killer intersection at the East Tamaki Rd-Ormiston Rd-Preston Rd junction.

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A deadly junction could be overhauled sooner rather than later.

Mayor Len Brown is looking at bringing forward the upgrade of the intersection of East Tamaki, Ormiston and Preston roads in Otara after fatal accidents there.

Two members of the Otara Tongan Methodist Church on Ormiston Rd have lost their lives at the site in the past two years.

The church has one of the biggest Tongan congregations in South Auckland.

Auckland Transport had scheduled the realignment of East Tamaki and Ormiston roads for 2015-2016 after buying much of the land needed to connect the two streets.

But Mr Brown says he'll now be investigating whether that work can be moved forward in the next few weeks.

"We're looking at what's available now to do. On the basis that we own that land, the project could move forward.

"I'm definitely listening to the local community and fully appreciate more than most the benefits of reconfiguring that intersection," Mr Brown says.

Safety is an issue, along with improving access to the fast-growing Ormiston village, he says.

Church member Makahokovalu Tonga says he contacted the former Manukau City Council in 2010 after several accidents at the intersection.

Crash victims included Lucy Nemani who was killed in 2010 while crossing the road.

Mr Tonga was told work towards realignment would start by December 2011.

"The move to one supercity means we've lost contact," he says.

Fellow church member Liku 'Onesi died in August after her car and a police vehicle on its way to an emergency collided near the intersection.

Now Mr Tonga has turned to Manukau East MP Ross Robertson to try to speed up progress.

"Another death happened this year so I've had to approach Ross to help me."

Mr Robertson says he can appreciate the church's concerns.

"I've driven down that road myself and know what it's like.

"It's a health and safety issue - we're certainly not going to give up,' he says.

"It's not just local people who use the church."

Mr Robertson has written to the mayor asking for extra signs and a cut to the speed limit to improve safety until work can begin on the realignment project.

"At least this way people are made aware it's a concern of high importance in Otara. I can appreciate their grief."

Auckland Transport spokesman Mark Hannan says the project, budgeted for in the council's longterm plan, would create a new crossroad intersection with East Tamaki Rd, Preston Rd and Ormiston Rd.

Mr Hannan says Auckland Transport is in the process of buying property needed for the project but an objection to the designation of the land for roading is still being worked through.

The organisation has no plans to put up safety signs or adjust the speed limit in the meantime.

Counties Manukau East Senior Sergeant Pete Kaveney says there have been 10 crashes in the past two years near the intersection.

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- Manukau Courier

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