'Crash-risk' islands attract police focus

MYLES HUME
Last updated 06:06 21/08/2014
Halswell Junction Rd and Springs Rd roundabouts
Stacy Squires

CRASH RISK: Accidents have tripled at the Halswell Junction Rd and Springs Rd intersection.

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Two new Christchurch roundabouts deemed a "crash risk" may soon attract an increased police presence.

Crashes at the Halswell Junction Rd and Springs Rd intersection have almost trebled since it was redeveloped into a two-lane roundabout in 2012 during the first stage of the Christchurch Southern Motorway project.

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Senior Sergeant Peter Stills said it was a "potential crash risk" area and his staff, along with highway patrol officers, kept a regular watch.

"There's certainly been a police presence and if there is a need it will be [increased]," he said.

Stills, a frequent user of the Halswell Junction and Springs Rd and the new Southern Motorway and Halswell Junction Rd roundabouts, was concerned with the way some of the 21,500 daily commuters in the area were behaving.

New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) figures show there have been 14 crashes in total at the two roundabouts since the motorway's December 2012 opening.

Seven crashes, not including a smash on August 5, were reported at the Halswell Junction Rd and Springs Rd roundabout during that period, compared with the three crashes a year on average during the three years prior to the motorway project.

There have also been seven crashes at the Southern Motorway and Halswell Junction Rd roundabout.

Stills believed the biggest issue was drivers cutting off others because they were confused about which lanes to occupy when exiting the double-laned roundabouts.

He planned to approach NZTA about installing advisory signs so drivers knew what lane to be in. The issue was exacerbated by faded road markings created by the speed vehicles were travelling on the roundabout.

"I also think some people are going for gaps that aren't there . . . because they are getting frustrated while waiting, and that's truck drivers in particular."

NZTA highway manager Colin Knaggs said the crash rate was within expected levels with daily users doubling from 10,760 to 21,500.

The roundabout was built to Australasian standards for safe road design and there were no improvement plans. The Southern Motorway and Halswell Junction roundabout will be removed when the second stage of the project gets underway.

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