Concerns prompt action over intersection

Businessman Marty Hay near the intersection he says is unsafe. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Businessman Marty Hay near the intersection he says is unsafe. Photo by Peter McIntosh.

A Dunedin intersection which the owner of a nearby business says is unsafe is about get some attention.

Veggie Boys co-owner Marty Hay said the corner of Jervois and Cumberland Sts had a history of drivers turning the wrong way into busy one-way traffic.

Last week, two camper vans turned left into Cumberland St, driving the wrong way along State Highway 1.

''We lost sight of them,'' Mr Hay said.

A young woman with three baby seats in her car, but luckily no babies, did the same thing before staff waved her down.

Mr Hay said he approached the Otago Daily Times after months waiting for a response from the New Zealand Transport Agency.

A response came once he did.

Senior safety engineer Roy Johnston said the intersection was classified as low risk, with no fatal or serious crashes in the past five years, and was not a high priority site for safety improvement work.

''However, we've taken on board Mr Hay's concerns, and are going to implement some marking and sign changes that will help reduce the risk of people turning the wrong way on to Cumberland St.''

The agency said the changes would happen ''as soon as possible''.

Mr Hay said there were 10 incidents of people turning left from Jervois St in the first two weeks of December, but the issue had been a problem for as long as the business had been at the corner.

Staff members all had stories of near misses.

Another issue was drivers turning into Jervois St from Cumberland St, but entering the right lane, rather than the left.

Mr Hay said he had contacted NZTA six months ago, and again three months ago.

At that time, he spoke to someone who was ''sympathetic'', and said he would visit Mr Hay at the site, but that had not happened.

But he had now run out of patience and called the ODT.

He wanted a kerb extension from the north side of the intersection to stop people turning left.

In the meantime, sand bags would do the job, and potentially save lives.

Mr Hay said the NZTA had told him the agency wanted to do the job once, and do it well.

''I said 'what value is a human life?'.''

The NZTA said it accepted it should have contacted Mr Hay sooner.

Mr Johnston said changes ''potentially' included installing lane arrows and flush markings at the intersection to guide people in the appropriate direction.

Signs would be relocated to better positions.

The agency was also planning changes to deal with right-turning traffic in Cumberland St slowing down in the traffic lane, forcing following motorists to brake heavily.

That problem would be solved by installing a right-turn lane, although ''a small number of parks'' would be lost.

david.loughrey@odt.co.nz

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