Backtrack on part of controversial Dinsdale roundabout change
The transport agency will reverse a controversial change to the congested Dinsdale roundabout after petitioning from frustrated residents.
Described as a "concrete assault" course, both the public and Hamilton city councillors criticised New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) staff over efforts to improve pedestrian safety at the roundabout last year.
A petition on the changes, a joint NZTA and council initiative, was discussed by council on Tuesday.
Last year's project transformed Tuhikaramea Rd and Rifle Range Rd from two-lane streets into one-lane streets, replaced a slipway with a bicycle lane, and installed a pedestrian crossing on Whatawhata Rd.
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Work to return Tuhikaramea Rd to a two-lane road should be completed in four weeks, the transport agency said.
Councillor Angela O'Leary slammed NZTA for failing to respond to council requests on the matter, and asked why Dinsdale Rd would remain a single lane road.
"Yesterday it (traffic) was right up to the hill, and that's just madness."
She said there was a lack of strategic thinking for an intersection with increasing traffic.
Mayor Andrew King described the roundabout as "ludicrous" and was also frustrated by the single lane Tuhikaramea Rd.
GreyPower representative Russell Knaap said it was now a "concrete assault" course for elderly drivers.
Petition organiser Trish Greene, who specifically sought the restoration of two-lanes on Tuhikaramea Rd, was pleased with the outcome but acknowledged there were ongoing issues.
NZTA principal safety engineer Michelle Te Wharau conceded that, at peak times, the changes had caused more congestion than expected.
The agency will monitor congestion of Rifle Range Rd. Reinstating two lanes on this road is "not off the table", Te Wharau said.
The council endorsed the decision and ongoing monitoring of the roundabout. NZTA will report back to council in August.