Roundabout design worries pub owner

CATHIE BELL
Last updated 08:59 01/08/2014
St Peter Chanel church
DEREK FLYNN/FAIRFAX NZ

DANGEROUS: The Spring Creek intersection is one of New Zealand’s most risky.

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The next version of the proposed roundabout at the Spring Creek intersection of State Highway 1 is being designed by roading authorities, but businesses in the area are not enthusiastic.

Marlborough Roads manager Frank Porter said yesterday a $160,000 contract had been let for design work for a new roundabout to improve the safety of the junction of State Highways 1 and 62 at Spring Creek.

The new design would take into account concerns raised about the first design, he said. These included a layby for trucks at the rail crossing and access and parking for businesses around the intersection.

"I'm sure there will be other issues that arise during the design process."

It would be a "very considered process", Porter said, and before plans were finalised and applications lodged with the Marlborough District Council to seek consent, the community would be invited to get involved.

"An important part of the design process is public feedback. We need local knowledge and advice to make these safety improvements as successful as possible," Porter said.

"The local community and key stakeholders like KiwiRail, other utility service providers, iwi, road user groups, Spring Creek business owners and operators and adjacent landowners will be able to provide valuable insights into the final shape and form of the project. We'll be listening closely."

Junction Hotel owner Dave Weir said the "jungle drums had been beating" about the roundabout, but he had not heard anything for sure.

The preliminary design for the roundabout was about 70 per cent right, but it was "flawed" with what he called "two killing zones" to the north and south, where vehicles would be forced to do u-turns on the state highway to get into businesses and leave again.

It could also be risky for trucks, with the roundabout not low enough for trucks to drive over if they needed to avoid traffic.

The roundabout could also potentially cause loads to shift on bigger trucks and make them tip over, Weir said.

"I used to be a truckie, I know about this."

If a truck tipped over and blocked the highway, there was nowhere to divert the traffic. There was no big haulage recovery in Marlborough, Weir said.

He said he believed the roundabout would be going ahead, no matter what people said.

Spring Creek 4Square owner Tommy Glubb said he and co-owner Casey Hilton-Pryor, as part of the Spring Creek community, were more than receptive about ideas on how to make the intersection safer.

"However, due to a lack of communication, we still don't know where we stand or where the design stands. We haven't heard enough yet."

Porter said Marlborough Roads would work closely with the community as it developed the roundabout design, and planned to hold public information days later this year as part of the design process.

"We will have staff on hand to provide people with detailed information and answer questions about the intersection improvements," he said.

"This will then be analysed and feedback will be used to finalise the design of the roundabout."

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The agency planned to complete the roundabout's design by the end of this year and begin construction next year.

Early indications were it would cost about $2 million, Porter said.

The intersection was ranked 17th in the New Zealand Transport Agency's list of the top 100 high risk intersections.

There had been 17 crashes at the intersection during the five years from September 2008 to August last year and 32 crashes in the 10 years from September 2003 and August last year.

cathie.bell@mex.co.nz

- The Marlborough Express

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