Transport firms see red over lights

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by Chris Tobin

The possibility of new traffic lights being installed as part of the proposed shopping development at the A & P showgrounds is not being welcomed by some transport operators.

‘‘We’ve already got enough traffic lights in Timaru as it is,’’ Brosnan Transport managing director Greg Brosnan said.

‘‘They would be better to have a roundabout.’’

Timaru Metal Recyclers owner John Hepburn said he had two truck and trailer units travelling to Christchurch daily and another six trucks on the road that travelled each day between Washdyke and his business at Redruth, in south Timaru.

‘‘We don’t need another set of lights.’’

Both men believed more traffic lights would lead to greater congestion, slower traffic flows and increased operating costs.

A NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) spokesman said concerns about the disruption to traffic flows and heavily laden trucks stopping at lights and then climbing Showgrounds Hill out of Timaru were considered during NZTA’s discussions with the developer, Redwood QT Ltd.

‘‘The Grants Rd intersection will be on flat land, and vehicles will have approximately 100m to pull away before reaching the start of Showgrounds Hill,’’ the spokesman said.

Mr Hepburn questioned how the lights could be on flat land with 100m for heavy laden trucks to pull away if they were sited at the bottom of Showgrounds Hill.

‘‘If the lights are to be at Grants Rd, it’s uphill from there [going north].’’

The land was flat if driving south into the city but this was not the case heading north up Showgrounds Hill.

Mr Brosnan said if lights were to be on flat land, then why not have a roundabout?

‘‘It’s a busy enough road along there now. Lights will just create more congestion.’’

The nearest traffic lights to the Grants Rd intersection were three sets, southwards about 1km away along Evans St (State Highway 1), at the Newman St, Ranui Ave and Grasmere St intersections.

The distance between the Newman St and Ranui Ave lights was about 200m and it was 120m between those at Ranui Ave and Grasmere St.

To the north, the next set of traffic lights was located about 2.3km from Grants Rd at the intersection of SH1 and SH8 in Washdyke.

Mr Hepburn said he was not opposed to Timaru having a new large shopping complex.

‘‘But I think it [the showgrounds] is not the right place. There needs to be more discussion where it goes.’’

Redwood QT needed the agreement and approval of the NZTA for the intersection works to advance the development.

The NZTA already has a project to replace a culvert under State Highway 1at the Taitarakihi Stream north of Grants Rd, which would probably be affected by an intersection upgrade.

There would also be improvements made at the State Highway 1/Bridge St intersection at the top of Showgrounds Hill.

Flat…A view from the Grants Rd intersection looking towards the Showgrounds hill. Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency says 100 metres leading from the proposed traffic lights at the intersection to the hill would be flat. PHOTO: CHRIS TOBIN