The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) now has permanent traffic signals operating on the Beaumont Bridge to help improve road user safety and prolong the life of the bridge.
The signals costing around $180,000 were switched on yesterday.
NZTA Regional State Highways Manager Niclas Johansson says the signals will improve safety, reduce the risk of head on crashes and help lower the speed of traffic using the bridge. Poor visibility from the Lawrence end of the bridge is a problem as it is not always easy for drivers to see what vehicles are already crossing the bridge until they are nearly on it. It is not uncommon to see vehicles having to back up so oncoming traffic can get off the bridge.
“The decision to install the signals was taken to lower vehicle speeds to help reduce stress and wear and tear on the bridge, especially from heavy trucks. The bridge deck timber is also prone to movement and this is aggravated by high traffic speeds”.
Mr Johansson said the signals will be monitored to ensure the smooth flow of bridge traffic. Cyclists are catered for by longer signal phases to allow them to cross the bridge safely. The new signals are not expected to increase travel times on State Highway 8 between Lawrence and Raes Junction. Scaffolding will remain at the bridge so regular monitoring and repairs can be carried out.