Goodbye, traffic jams

All systems go . . . Looking forward to the start of work this month on three roundabouts in Green Island are (from left) Saddle Hill Community Board member Leanne Stenhouse, Green Island police officer Senior Constable Fred Jansen, Greater Green Island Community Network chairman Steve Hayward and Dunedin City Council transportation safety team leader Hjarne Poulsen. PHOTO: BRENDA HARWOOD

Peak-hour traffic jams could soon be a thing of the past at Green Island, as $1.8million of work is about to start on construction of three roundabouts.

The project, jointly funded by the NZ Transport Agency ($1.3million) and the Dunedin City Council, has been contracted to Dunedin firm Fulton Hogan Ltd.

Work will start in mid-March and is expected to be completed in 12 to 14 weeks, by late June.

The roundabout at the intersection of Main South Rd and Brighton Rd is expected to be built first.

Council transportation safety team leader Hjarne Poulsen said the council was overseeing the work at all three roundabouts.

“Being able to do all three at once is a huge cost saving,” he said.

NZTA senior safety engineer Roy Johnston said the agency was “pleased to be involved in helping to fund these key Green Island intersections, to make them safer for residents and all road users”.

Mr Poulsen said planning was under way on temporary traffic management strategies, which could include temporary roundabouts.

“Hopefully, we will be able to improve traffic flows quite quickly while the work is being done,” he said.

He acknowledged there might be some road closures from time to time as the project progressed.

“Ultimately, our aim is to change the traffic flows in the area, including reducing the amount of traffic through the Green Island area.”

Greater Green Island Community Network chairman Steve Hayward said it was “fantastic” that work would begin soon on the roundabouts.

“It’s great that this situation has been treated with some urgency, especially as it has been a top priority for the residents of the area,” he said.

The Green Island, Ocean View and Taieri areas had been growing in recent years, and traffic volumes and associated problems had continued to increase, Mr Hayward said.

“These roundabouts will really help the traffic to flow.”

Traffic safety at the intersections of Main South Rd and Brighton Rd, and Main South Rd with the northbound motorway on-ramp and southbound off-ramp (Westland St), have been raised as a concern by the Saddle Hill Community Board for about 10 years, including in its submission to the DCC’s 2015-16 to 2024-25 draft long-term plan.

The issue was also highlighted in The Star in September 2016, after Waldronville couple Mike and Helen Geddes approached the paper about a series of “near misses” at the intersections.

Contacted by The Star this week, Mrs Geddes was delighted at the news that the roundabouts would be built by the middle of this year.

“We are really looking forward to them going in. It will be fantastic,” she said.

She paid tribute to community network workers Amanda Reid and Leanne Stenhouse for their tenacity, including consulting with the community and liaising with the DCC.

The network surveyed hundreds of Green Island residents in 2016, the results showing traffic volume and safety were major concerns.

A comprehensive plan to improve traffic flow, intersections, pedestrian safety and bus stops was discussed and developed with residents before meetings were held with DCC and Otago Regional Council representatives.