The intersections of Victoria and Willis Streets with Karo Drive (State Highway 1) are some of the busiest and some of the most dangerous intersections in Wellington. Forty crashes have been recorded in the last five years at these two sites.
To keep people safer, Wellington City Council and the NZ Transport Agency are introducing two new initiatives over the next two months in this area.
The first is a change to the speed limit on the approach to the Terrace Tunnel. The electronic speed sign, currently set at 70kph, can be seen from the Victoria Street intersection which may be resulting in some drivers speeding through the intersection unintentionally. We will be changing this to 50kph from Friday 11 June (after 10pm) to reduce to risk of this happening. The speed limit through the tunnel will remain at 70kph.
The second measure is the proactive monitoring of drivers running red lights at these intersections. The Wellington Traffic Operations Centre will be monitoring specially designed traffic cameras at these signals to analyse the number of drivers running red lights, and the circumstances in which this is occurring. Red light running has been identified as a factor in several of the crashes at these intersections.
NZTA Wellington State Highways Manager Rod James said the data would be used to improve safety at these and other busy intersections, and to assist police in their enforcement planning.
“The intersections of Victoria and Willis Streets with Karo Drive are among the riskiest in the Wellington region; even though people are usually driving at 50kph. Our goal is to make these intersections safer for the people using them whether they drive, walk, cycle or catch the bus. Identifying and addressing safety issues such as these is all part of our wider objective of achieving safer journeys for all road users, through a combination of safer roads and roadsides, safer vehicles, safer users and safer speeds.
“Some of the issues we will be looking at include the signal phasing, timing of green lights and whether drivers are being distracted and not seeing the lights change to red,” said Mr James.
City Networks Manager Stavros Michael from Wellington City Council supports the measures.
“This work is a combined initiative between Wellington City Council and the NZ Transport Agency, led by our combined traffic management unit, and will assist in improving safety at this and other traffic signal-controlled intersections across the city,” he said.