Minor upgrades for major intersections

There may be lane changes at Barkes Corner before the end of the year. Photo: Google.

Three of the city’s major intersections are likely to be tweaked as part of the summer maintenance programmes, an NZTA transport planner told city councillors this week.

The intersections are the Cambridge Road/SH29 intersection, Barkes Corner, and Elizabeth Street/Takitimu Drive.

The agency is looking at short term fixes that can be achieved more or less with a pot of paint, says transport planner Iain China at the city council Transport Committee workshop this week.

“Really what we are looking at here is any value adds that we can add to routine maintenance,” says Iain.

“This is essentially basically the pot of paint and the signs and the lines kind of treatments. So we have routine maintenance scheduled at intersections scheduled from time to time, reseals and so forth.

“So it’s when we are looking at going down on those roads there, any benefit that we can actually do that is a little bit smarter in terms of how we manage the traffic in terms of the road markings and signage.”

At Cambridge Road there are problems with the morning and afternoon peaks, particularly regarding traffic turning left and right out of Cambridge Road being held up by a higher traffic demand on SH29.

There are basically the same issues in the afternoon, says Iain.

They’re looking at banning the right turn out of Cambridge Road and extending the merge lane for left turning traffic to encourage commuters to go down the hill and turn around at the roundabout – as some are doing now.

It will require a little more work to reconfigure the intersection, including some sort of solid medium to prevent the right turn out of Cambridge Road.

It could be combined with a 60km/h speed limit for Tauriko.

Slower traffic approach speeds provide more gaps for traffic turning out, says Iain.

Bringing forward the Tauriko West development also means access to the highway by a temporary ‘T’ intersection and later a roundabout near the Tauriko School.

The possibility of a connection from Cambridge Road to that roundabout is being talked about as a longer term solution.

At Barkes Corner, NZTA and TCC are considering widening the approach lane from the Kaimai end, to allow more stacking.

The problems there include morning tailbacks on SH29 sometimes affecting the toll road, and afternoon peaks southbound on Cameron Road.

Some resealing scheduled there for the end of this year is providing an opportunity to extend the left hand land on the SH29 approach from The Lakes to allow more stacking, and they are also looking at lane making tweaks – to encourage traffic to get into the right lane on the approach to the roundabout, says Iain.

They are also looking at using lane changes to regulate the traffic going into the roundabout by reducing some entry lanes.

“There’s a little bit of science behind it,” says Iain.

They are looking at improving the traffic flow out of Pyes Pa in the morning peak, and are considering dedicated left turn out lanes. But that may interfere with afternoon peak traffic on Cameron Road. They need to do more modelling.

“There’s a little bit more work to do before we sign it off,” says TCC transport manager Martin Parkes.

“It’s a complicated intersection this one and so we need to be careful how we tread going forward with it.”

If traffic signals are the option that will be a few more years away.

At Elizabeth Street ramp metering traffic lights are being considered to resolve the two main issues that include morning holdups for southbound traffic on Takitimu Drive caused by right turning traffic entering Elizabeth Street, and in the afternoons it is the tail-back up Elizabeth Street because of the Takitimu Drive traffic volumes.

NZTA doesn’t think anything can be done using signs and lines, say Iain.

Similar to the entry ramp lights on the Auckland motorway, the lights will signal two cars through at a time on the northbound approach, to would help the morning peak flow from the bridge.

There are options to investigate for the afternoon peak. A left turn slip lane will impact on property – and there is Glasgow Street.

Glasgow Street is a complex traffic issue and if they get it wrong, it will have a significant impact on how Cameron Road performs as well, says Martin.

“This one is taking a lot more thought than the other two,” says Martin.

The council is planning traffic lights for Cameron Road/3rd Avenue, to be operational in time for a parking building behind the ANZ building.

He’s also looking at more work on the Glasgow St/ Elizabeth Street intersection.

Turning from Takitimu Drive right into Glasgow from Elizabeth Street is one concern.

“And turning right out of Glasgow onto Elizabeth is a problematic manoeuvre as well,” says Martin.

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Posted on 13-09-2017 21:32 | By Capt_Kaveman

the idiot that put a roundabout at Dickson rd and Grant place??????? this council needs to be given the boot


Posted on 13-09-2017 16:48 | By Astoreth

Let’s make everyone coming out of Cambridge go down to the roundabout and compound the problems that already exist there.Maybe NZTA and council should just get some people who actually have some capability to do the planning in the first place. You don’t have to be too bright to figure out that the Lakes roundabout should have been an interchange BEFORE all the development up the valley started.

adding to the congestion

Posted on 13-09-2017 16:32 | By spoilerfactory

Send more vehicles to the congested roundabout, that’s really going to help!Take the tolls off the expressway so the dodgers move off the side to roads

Traffic Congestion

Posted on 13-09-2017 14:20 | By Kaimai

My Google Map says there is traffic congestion all around Tauranga, even at 2.16pm. How about more access to the Expressway? How about fixing Cameron Rds merging of 2 lanes into 1 lane into 2 lanes into 1 lane....2 lanes roundabouts merging to 1 lane until the next roundabout...that can be done with a tin of paint too!

Restore Passing Lane?

Posted on 13-09-2017 12:51 | By Wazmo

What about reinstating the passing lane coming up into Tauriko?? This will stop traffic queuing up behind trucks (I have seen up to 40-50 cars), leaving more gaps for Cambridge Road traffic to merge into. Also they have slowed the speed limit to 40km’s outside of Tauriko School, which is a good idea, but is causing traffic build-up.

Just fix it!

Posted on 13-09-2017 12:37 | By Draginz

Before the Council even gave the approval for the Tauriko Industrial area, Tauranga Crossing and The Lakes housing area, SH29 should have been 4 laned from the Caltex station all the way through to the Maungatapu roundabout. Just like at Maungatapu, there should be a straight ahead underpass under the Barkes Corner roundabout. This is the only way to deal with the traffic jams all along Cameron Road and from Cambridge Road to Barkes Cnr (in the evening) - also jamming up the end of the toll road, and lower Pyes Pa Road and Oropi Road (in the morning). Pretty painted lines won’t achieve anything!

What how do people get to Hamilton From Bethlehem?

Posted on 13-09-2017 12:21 | By tabatha

Do we have to do a left go down the hill and go aroundabout and come up. Someone needs to. Also recommended route for heavy traffic who do not pay tolls. Someone in NZTA needs to see and listen. Just waiting for the truckies to protest long and hard. To use the toll road we have to head to Elizabeth Street to get on to toll road. Someone needs to get off their chai r and brave the outdoors to see what is happening. Nutters.