Too many road cones in the Tron?

MATT BOWEN
Last updated 05:00 31/05/2013
Traffic cone madness, David Sweeney
BRUCE MERCER/Fairfax NZ

CONE OF WORMS: Traffic management has become ridiculous and dangerous on the Avalon Drive bypass, says cyclist David Sweeney.

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Traffic control has become a bright orange and dangerous plague for Hamilton commuter and cyclist David Sweeney.

The Te Kowhai resident - who cycles to his work as a mechanical engineer on Kahikatea Dr - reckons there are too many traffic cones choking Waikato thoroughfares.

His frustration boiled over yesterday after he travelled alongside an almost continuous stream of evenly spaced cones stretching from Te Rapa's Avalon Drive overbridge, down the expressway passed Wintec, through the Avalon Drive bypass, on through Lincoln St and into Frankton.

"There were cones everywhere," he said.

"I just couldn't believe it - it was a continuous line. There might as well have been a line of cones six feet apart from Te Rapa to Frankton."

Throughout, he had not seen a single person working.

Mr Sweeney said the excessive cone use had become a hazard for cyclists who had to travel further out onto the main roadway to avoid them.

He is worried motorists will ignore the ubiquitous cones because there were so many in place seemingly for no reason.

"At some point, I was thinking if I was riding my bike I'd be fighting my way through all these cones and having to ride out in the traffic."

At that point, Mr Sweeney said he saw that exact scenario play out and a cyclist received the finger from a motorist as a result.

"For every amount of time the cones are there and there isn't a [work-associated] hazard, you're making a hazard for everyone else that would be using the road. And you're reinforcing the cry wolf issue whereby people just forget about the cones.

"How many times have you driven past a 30kmh sign and thought: 'I'm not slowing down because this has been here for two weeks and they aren't doing any work'."

A written response to these concerns from Waikato and Bay of Plenty region media manager Glenda Dobbyn failed to address the safety question directly.

She said the cones at the State Highway 1 Avalon Drive overbridge are part of temporary traffic management for work to clear the trees from the approaches to the bridge.

"SH1 Avalon Drive, is a level two traffic management zone which does require more signage and cones than on level one roads to account for higher traffic volumes," she wrote.

"Cones and signage must be visible so the work can be undertaken in a safe manner for road users and workers."

All traffic plans are approved by the Road Controlling Authority - for state highways that's NZTA and on other roads it's the local authority's job.

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- Waikato Times

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