A Fix Hill Street Now campaigner and former civil engineer has put forward a cheap, straightforward solution to fix traffic snarl ups at New Zealand’s most notorious intersection.
Roger Williams describes his proposal as “Band-Aid” until more extensive roadworks take place, but would nevertheless provide some immediate relief for motorists who often find negotiating the intersection a hair-raising experience.
Mr Williams, who has 30 years of traffic engineering experience, suggests a series of linked lights that would ensure motorists would only have to give way to traffic coming from a maximum of one direction, rather than the current situation where a motorist must take account of traffic converging from up to five directions.
The proposal would see three extra sets of lights. These would control traffic heading into the intersection from Elizabeth Street, Sandspit Road and traffic coming south on SH1.
The lights would operate in four phases allowing traffic to flow freely from SH1, Elizabeth Street, Sandspit Road and Hill Street in turn.
The linked nature of the lights means traffic entering from Sandspit Road with a green light would also have clear access to Hill Street and SH1.
Traffic turning right out of Elizabeth Street into Sandspit Road would no longer have to dodge traffic converging from SH1, Hill Street and Sandspit Road.
Other refinements include making the entrance to Kowhai Park “entry only” from the intersection, removing one complication from a complex junction.
Pedestrians would also benefit from a “Cross Now” signal during one of the light phases.
Mr Williams says he anticipates the proposal could cost a mere $300,000.
But he says even if his plan was implemented it couldn’t hope to cope with projected growth in and around Warkworth.
“The urban growth is just going to be so horrendous. It’s not going to get through the intersection, full stop,” he says.
He says a comprehensive solution would likely require an investment of at least $10 million and take several years, but his temporary fix would provide a satisfactory solution in the meantime.
Media Relations Manager for Auckland Transport Mark Hannon says Mr Williams' proposal will be forwarded to consultants currently looking at temporary options for improving Hill Street.
Last month, Fix Hill Street Now filed a submission to parliament suggesting a permanent fix to Hill Street and arguing that it could not wait until the Puhoi to Warkworth motorway and Matakana Link Road are completed as the New Zealand Transport Agency has suggested.