Paekakariki Hill turn to SH1 to change

KAY BLUNDELL
Last updated 07:15 14/12/2012

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Major changes will be made to Paekakariki's dangerous State Highway 1 intersection after more than a decade of debate.

Kapiti Coast District Council yesterday accepted the New Zealand Transport Agency's proposal to ban traffic turning right from Paekakariki Hill Rd on to State Highway 1, and prohibiting highway traffic turning right on to the hill road.

Traffic on Paekakariki Hill Rd will also be prohibited from crossing the highway to access Beach Rd.

Many safety improvements for the intersection had been suggested over the past 10 years, including a $1 million traffic island to stop the "rat run" over the hill, which was rejected due to safety concerns, and traffic lights, which were ruled out by NZTA.

Councillor K Gurunathan said the latest plan would just move the problem of hill traffic merging on to SH1 further south, as traffic coming off the hill would have to turn left into a layby where a petrol station used to be situated, before making a right-hand turn to head north.

"The level of risk at the extremely busy intersection will be reduced, but the risk is being shifted further south. The first major accident at the new spot will spark a lot of noise from people blaming the council and NZTA," Mr Gurunathan said.

Several years ago there was a suggestion that traffic coming off the hill turn left and travel further south to Fisherman's Table before turning north on to SH1.

Kapiti Mayor Jenny Rowan stressed there had been no agreement on a series of designs discussed over the past decade.

"This is the closest we have got to an agreement on improving this intersection. Money has been found; we need to do this before Transmission Gully," she said. "It is not good enough to just leave it, we need to make a decision."

The council's infrastructure group manager, Sean Mallon, said a council study had shown many near-miss accidents involving vehicles trying to cross the highway from the hill road to Beach Rd.

The intersection is regarded as one of the worst traffic troublespots on Kapiti Coast.

The changes are expected to be made to the intersection next month.

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- The Dominion Post

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