North end crossing report due out soon

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Most public submissions support a proposal to install traffic lights on State Highway 1 through Oamaru’s North End shopping centre.

Submissions to the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) closed on Friday, with most of the more than 60 received wanting the existing zebra crossing replaced.

The proposal is to replace the zebra crossing with a signalised pedestrian crossing.

“Most submissions were in favour of improving safety at the pedestrian crossing, at the same time wanting to see reduced traffic congestion in the area,” NZTA’s senior project manager Phil Dowsett said.

Many submitters also offered alternative suggestions and modifications to the proposed plan.

“These included putting traffic signals at the Frome St/Caledonian Rd intersection, instead of a pedestrian crossing,” Mr Dowsett said.

“All feedback will be now summarised and the alternative suggestions considered. It is hoped to have a brief final report within the next couple of weeks.”

The original proposal was to replace the zebra crossing with a signalised pedestrian crossing with infrared detectors which would cut the number of times the signals would be unnecessarily activated. One car park on either side of the road adjacent to the crossing would also be removed to give pedestrians a better view of approaching traffic.

NZTA records show that a total of 27 crashes had occurred at or near the crossing in the past five years, with most of them being cars that were rear-ended.

Business owners in the area have told the Oamaru Mail that many drivers were driving too fast and some crashes had gone unreported.

By CHRIS TOBIN