Safer intersection options considered

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The Waitaki District Council is considering ways to make the Humber St/Orwell St intersection safer following an incident over the weekend in which a car smashed through a house.

Paul and Louise Daley were sitting watching television when a car ploughed through a bedroom and into the lounge where they were sitting at 8.30pm on Saturday.

Waitaki District Council roading manager Michael Voss, who went with the mayor to talk to the Daleys yesterday, said he had been investigating options to make that section of road safer following the crash.

“Our responsibility is to provide as safe a road as we possibly can.”

While he had not yet worked out the best option, some of his ideas included putting in different types of signage or erecting a tyre barrier.

However, road safety was also the responsibility of the driver, he said.

The safety measure, once confirmed, would be likely to be added to the minor improvements programme, which is a ranked list of improvements that could be made once money was available, Mr Voss said.

“it’s too early to answer how long it will be.”

Waitaki District mayor Gary Kircher said the council was trying to find the right solution, which would have long-term protection, not only for residents of Orwell St but also for drivers.

The crash caused extensive damage to the house and left the Daleys with moderate injuries and temporarily homeless.

Mrs Daley said they had been staying at a motel while the insurance companies worked out whether to repair or rebuild the property.

Depending on the outcome, they would have to be out of the house for six weeks to three months.

With help from family members, the couple have been trying to clear up the mess. Many of their treasured possessions were destroyed.

“I think it gets worse as the days go on,” Mrs Daley said.

“I just can’t stop crying.”

The corner is notorious for crashes and Mrs Daley said she could recall her fence and neighbouring fences being hit at least five or six times in the last 10 years.

There was one incident where a car rolled and ended up against the house, but a vehicle had never gone straight through before, she said.

She wanted the council to do something to help protect them from further incidents and hoped a safety barrier would be a start.

The couple are also considering putting up their own concrete fence.

Mrs Daley said she particularly wanted to emphasise the dangers of drink-driving and the devastation it could cause.

“I don’t think [the driver] has got any real realisation of what he’s done.”

The driver of the vehicle, a 22-year-old Oamaru man, has been arrested. He allegedly recorded an excess breath alcohol level of 950mcg following the crash.

Highway Patrol Sergeant Peter Muldrew said the man was facing one charge of reckless driving causing injury and another charge of excess breath alcohol causing injury.

It was unlikely there would be further charges, he said.

By RUBY HARFIELD

PHOTO: RUBY HARFIELD

OPTIONS CONSIDERED: Louise and Paul Daley talk with Waitaki District Council roading manager Michael Voss and mayor Gary Kircher.