Serious Mosgiel crash ‘only a matter of time’

Hundreds of motorists and a train were delayed after a vehicle crashed into a traffic light,...
Hundreds of motorists and a train were delayed after a vehicle crashed into a traffic light, knocking it over, at the intersection of Quarry and Gladstone Rds yesterday. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
Mosgiel drivers are putting lives in danger as frustration reaches boiling point at a snarled-up intersection.

Diverted traffic has been putting pressure on the key intersection out of the town during rush hour as major repair work keeps a lane of State Highway 1 in East Taieri closed.

Following a crash yesterday morning, Mosgiel residents told the Otago Daily Times problems had been building at the intersection of Gladstone and Gordon Rds since the highway work started on May 6.

They said drivers were frequently running red lights and attempting to drive through narrow gaps.

Mosgiel-Taieri Community Board chairman Andrew Simms said the community was "really, really concerned", about the safety of the "notorious" intersection.

"You have all these frustrated motorists running red lights, taking gaps and going too fast —they’re taking their chances when they can because they are getting so frustrated.

"If the crash had happened an hour later when school was about to start, they would be looking at multiple fatalities."

He said the intersection was frequently used by children on their way to school, and only last Friday there was a near-miss with an 8-year-old being millimetres away from being hit by a vehicle running a red light.

The community board had already started talking to schools whose pupils used the intersection about improving the safety of children using the crossing at peak times.

A community-led crossing patrol at the intersection at those times had been mooted, he said.

Mosgiel resident Eleanor Grantley said a serious crash in the area "was only a matter of time", and the intersection was known for the number of frustrated drivers running red lights and taking risks on the road.

"There is two sets of lights quite close together on either side of the train tracks — I’m assuming that they just see one is green and assume the other is too.

"If they run through the first yellow light, they’re going to run the next one on a red."

Ms Grantley, who works for Allied Press, said last Sunday she had been trying to turn left towards the motorway from Gladstone Rd North when "at least" eight cars blasted through a red light while she sat at her green light, unable to go.

"It’s always been an issue, but it is a bigger issue now because of all the roadworks."

An NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi spokeswoman agreed the intersection required people to be alert at all times.

"It is two road intersections close together, operated separately by Wellington Transport Operations Centre, but co-ordinated, and bisected by a railway line.

"It is a complicated layout which demands drivers’ attention at all times," the spokeswoman said.

While they had not received any complaints from police about people running red lights, they did get two complaints from May 9 and 20 from the Dunedin City Council on the operation of the traffic signals.

"Due to SH1 northbound traffic being detoured along Gladstone Rd, along with traffic going to and from Mosgiel, traffic signal operators apply minor manual adjustments to assist with the prioritisation of this approach during peak times."

Intersection users should expect the timings to be different for inter-peak due to the drop in demand, the spokeswoman said.

Senior Sergeant Anthony Bond, of Dunedin, said the crash at 7.48am yesterday was caused by a 53-year-old man attempting to make a right-hand turn into Gladstone Rd South from Gordon Rd while watching an oncoming vehicle.

As he found a gap in the traffic, he turned, but misjudged the gap and hit a traffic light pole.