Users move to counter Spring Creek tangle

CATHIE BELL
Last updated 05:00 05/08/2014
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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Something has to be done to fix the intersection on State Highway 1 at Spring Creek, north of Blenheim, road user groups say.

Marlborough Roads has contracted consultants to refine a design for a roundabout at the intersection of SH1 with Rapaura Rd and Ferry Rd at Spring Creek, which is ranked New Zealand's 17th most dangerous intersection.

Both the Automobile Association and the Road Transport Federation's Marlborough representatives said there was "no question" that work needed to be done at the intersection. Both groups intended to be heavily involved in consultation around the final design.

Automobile Association board member Mike Petersen said his organisation acknowledged there were significant limitations to what could be done to upgrade the site because of the proximity of the rail track to the state highway.

"Whether a roundabout is the right solution on that site we will see through the consultation."

The closeness of the road and rail was a "terrible legacy", Petersen said. "It's No 1 on our list to get fixed. The consequences of a mishap are so severe."

Road Transport Association John Bond said the association was heavily involved in the design consultation as it was vitally important truck drivers had a safe place to turn onto coming out of Spring Creek, to get off the railway line before entering the flow of traffic on the state highway.

A lot of trucks went in and out of Ferry Rd as KiwiRail and Toll had freight yards on the street. They had to cross the railway line before coming back onto the state highway, often crossing the flow of traffic to go along Rapaura Rd or turning right to go back to Picton.

Bond said they needed a safe bay to move into alongside the highway so they could get off the railway line if a train was coming, without affecting the flow of oncoming highway traffic.

Barrier arms had been discussed for the intersection, he said, but that didn't help a truck driver already half way across the intersection.

The roundabout was also important. It needed to be low, so drivers could see over it, and shaped so trucks could turn around it, and drive over it if necessary.

If the layby area and roundabout worked for trucks, his members would be happy, he said.

His organisation had no doubt the intersection either needed a roundabout or traffic lights installed.

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- The Marlborough Express

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