Ridgeway residents support lower speed limit

KATE DAVIDSON
Last updated 12:59 01/08/2014
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ALDEN WILLIAMS/FAIRFAX NZ
GO SLOW: The Nelson City Council may reduce the speed limit on the Bishopdale Hill section of Waimea Rd to 50kmh, to improve safety at the intersection with The Ridgeway.

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Residents who live near a hazardous Nelson intersection are welcoming a possible move to reduce the speed limit on Waimea Rd.

The Nelson City Council may lower the limit on the Bishopdale Hill section - from near the Caltex Bishopdale service station to the Beatson Rd roundabout - from 70kmh to 50kmh, to make it safer for traffic turning on to Waimea Rd from The Ridgeway.

"The potential for crashes involving death or serious injury is high," said the council's senior asset engineer for transport and roading, Rhys Palmer, in a report about the intersection.

Ridgeway residents for 28 years, Jan and John White, said the road layout was terrible.

They said the Waimea Rd intersection was "not a good corner", because drivers failed to indicate when coming off Waimea Rd, confusing those turning off The Ridgeway on to Waimea Rd. A sign reminding drivers to indicate needed to be further back up the road.

The couple also pointed out the danger from cars speeding off Waimea Rd on to The Ridgeway. "They don't slow down," Jan White said.

The Whites said they supported a roundabout being built to make the intersection safer.

Fellow Ridgeway resident Meschka Illing said there had been several accidents at the intersection over the years, and a 50kmh limit would be a safe option.

"I think speed is a big factor, especially with the [Enner Glynn] school up the road."

The Nelson regional transport committee was to meet today. It will decide whether to look at reducing the speed limit in the area, as it has recognised the intersection as "high speed" and "unsafe", with drivers pulling out on to Waimea Rd having to deal with speeding traffic, resulting in a poor safety record.

Drivers turning out of The Ridgeway faced waits of up to a minute at the intersection during peak times, it said.

If the lower speed limit is eventually approved, minor changes will be made to the intersection to improve safety.

Before the revamp can happen, the council will need to meet NZ Transport Agency requirements. The changes can then be made under a bylaw, with public consultation - so the speed limit reduction could be some time off.

If the committee approves the investigation, it will include a crash accident analysis, and the possibility of tightening the radius of the bend so that vehicles turning off Waimea Rd will have to slow down.

Palmer said the council had considered installing traffic lights or a roundabout, but neither were cost-effective, and lights would also disrupt the traffic flow.

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- The Nelson Mail

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