Fear for safety of road users

Ken Close.
Ken Close.
It is only a matter of time until someone is killed at the intersection of Blackhead Rd and Emerson St, a resident of the area says.

Ken Close told the Otago Daily Times he feared for the safety of road users after a serious crash at the intersection during the weekend.

Mr Close was in bed when he heard a ''loud bang'' about 9.30pm on Saturday.

He got dressed and drove down his driveway to the site of the crash.

''I ran over to the car and opened the door. I ran my hands down [the driver's] legs and he had broken his legs,'' Mr Close said.

''He was gripping the steering wheel that hard and it had caved in ... I had to pull his fingers off the steering wheel and pull him back so he could breathe.

''He was bleeding profusely... I was quite cut up about it.''

It was not the first time he had seen a crash at the intersection - he estimated 50 had occurred at the intersection in the 19 years he had lived in the street - and he had ''seen a lot of close calls''.

Ron Minnema.
Ron Minnema.
''If he had gone through there and ... hit someone else they would would have been killed,'' he said.

''It's a wonder that no-one has been killed.''

Northbound motorists regularly crossed the centre line on the road, even if they slowed when approaching it, he said.

A lamppost was recently installed on the road but the only way to improve the road's safety was to re-engineer it, Mr Close said.

Dunedin City Council senior traffic engineer Ron Minnema said the lamppost was installed to improve the lighting of the road and its safety.

It was a ''proactive'' measure by the council and the appropriateness of the location was considered before it was installed, he said.

The pole was frangible and would collapse if struck by a car. It was in a 50kmh area.

The intersection was not one of the council's high-risk intersections or roads, he said.

The most high-risk intersections and high-risk roads accounted for about 29% of all injury and fatality crashes in the city, he said.

Southern District Command Centre deployment co-ordinator Senior Sergeant Kelvin Lloyd said inquiries into the cause of the crash were ongoing.

Investigation into speed and whether the driver had been drinking would form part of those inquiries, he said.

The 35-year-old driver was in a stable condition in a general ward yesterday afternoon, a Dunedin Hospital spokesman said.

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