Motueka is getting an early Christmas present with its first ever set of traffic and pedestrian signals lighting up on 2 December: the first step in making High St safer for everyone, says Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.
The $6.8 million SH60 project is funded through the Government’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund designed to deliver safety improvements around the country. Work began in August.
“High Street is a busy road with lots of people driving, walking and cycling,” says Emma Speight, Director Regional Relationships for Waka Kotahi.
“The new signalised crossing will help people get across the road more safely. The signalised intersection, the first one in Motueka, will also make it easier for people driving and cycling to turn onto High Street from the side streets.
“Completing the traffic signals at the Pah/Greenwood/High Streets intersection as well as the pedestrian signals at the High Street crossing, has progressed well. Crews will be out of everyone’s way over the Christmas/ New Year break.
“A lot of people have heard the saying ‘you never turn right in Motueka’, and once our project is fully completed, we know the traffic signals will make everyone’s travels easier and safer,” Ms Speight says.
Andrea Smith Principal/Tumuaki for Parklands School/ Te Kura o Pakarana says the new traffic signals near the school will make a huge difference for students and parents. “This intersection has felt dangerous when our students have tried to cross the road. With the controlled crossings, we hope to see more of our students being comfortable walking, scootering, or cycling to school, knowing they can do so in a safer manner.”
Brent Maru, chair of the Motueka Community Board, congratulated Waka Kotahi and the contracting team for getting stage one completed before Christmas. “It is very pleasing to see the voice of our community and the result of several years of consultation and planning about to be realised.
“Among many residents and organisations who have advocated for the improvements, I would like to remember and acknowledge Motueka resident Jim Butler who continuously challenged both the Community Board and Government for improvements to SH60.
“To our businesses on State Highway 60, High Street, thank you for your patience.”
People will first notice the pedestrian and traffic signals flashing amber around 10am on 2 December, to alert people to the activation underway. Once activated, all signals will go red, stopping everyone. Then the phased sequence will start to let traffic flow.
The traffic signals at the Pah/ Greenwood/ High Street intersection will also have lights for people crossing the road on foot, like the pedestrian crossing signals on High Street, north of Wallace Street. People wanting to cross the road will need to press the button which will signal that someone is waiting to cross. The light display for pedestrians will show a red person and when it is safe to cross, a green person.
Waka Kotahi will be pausing construction during the peak summer break, from mid-December to 11 February, to ensure minimal disruption to businesses along High Street and to the Motueka community.
“We thank everyone for their patience and working with our detours and road closures while we complete this important work for Motueka. We are aiming to have the full project completed by the end of April next year,” says Ms Speight.
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