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The Waitaki District Council’s assets committee this week recommended roundabouts at both Wansbeck and Tyne Sts, for $60,000, and Eden and Reed Sts, for $77,000, to go the July 31 council meeting for approval. Oamaru’s last roundabout was removed in 2009, when the town’s first traffic lights were installed. The former roundabouts at Eden and Thames Sts and Ribble and Thames Sts intersections had prompted safety concerns.
Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher said roundabouts were more cost-effective than lights and they "work".
The Eden and Reed Sts intersection was the worst in Oamaru for crashes, with 31 reported since 2000. Ten people were injured and three people taken to hospital. At roundabouts all traffic slowed and the chance of an injury in a crash was reduced.
Council roading manager Michael Voss said on average, 5400 vehicles a day used the Wansbeck and Tyne Sts intersection, including 250 "heavy vehicles", and the number of vehicles using the intersection, including the number of camper vans in the area, was increasing.
At Eden and Reed Sts, 7664 vehicles, including 320 heavy vehicles, used the intersection.
At the assets meeting Mr Voss estimated traffic lights would cost about $200,000 for an intersection and said he believed traffic lights were "totally the wrong thing to do" in Wansbeck St.
The rubber roundabout would not add to the "clutter" in the area; the traffic calming effect of roundabouts would help with the reduced visibility, due especially to the size of vehicles parking on the road in the area; the roundabouts could be removed for special events; and they did not preclude the council at a later date installing a raised pedestrian crossing.