Work starts on Hill Street

Auckland Transport (AT) will press ahead with temporary improvements to the Hill Street intersection in the coming weeks but remains undecided about a controversial barrier arm.

Phase 1 of the improvement project will see the installation of a pedestrian crossing across Sandspit Road at the intersection. A  traffic signal will be placed at the left turn slip lane, which allows traffic heading south on State Highway 1 (SH1) to enter the intersection.

The signal will turn red when Sandspit Road traffic has a green light, preventing traffic from the slip lane interfering with the movement of Sandspit Road traffic.

AT engineer Warren Budd says the traffic light will also facilitate safe crossing for pedestrians across the slip lane and will bolster the improvements for pedestrians that will be made by the Sandspit Road pedestrian crossing.    

Speaking at the Warkworth Area Liaison Group (WALG) meeting last month, Mr Budd said the idea of the crossing and signal was to get some quick wins in terms of reducing congestion at the intersection and enhancing pedestrians’ ability to cross it. The work on installing the features could start next month. AT will monitor their impacts using traffic detectors hidden under the road and then determine how to proceed for Phase 2.

One proposal for Phase 2 is to install a time-controlled barrier arm, similar to those used at railway crossings, to control access to Elizabeth Street during morning peak hours. The idea for the barrier arm came after trials in late 2016 determined that traffic flow improved if traffic travelling from SH1 and Hill Street was prevented from turning into Elizabeth Street.
But the idea of a barrier arm has attracted heated local opposition.

During the WALG meeting, Chris Murphy said the barrier idea was stupid and would create confusion by giving traffic coming from a particular direction different rights at different times.

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