Review of rural intersections

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Ashburton District Council has committed to reviewing 79 of the district’s rural intersections and a report outlining the findings could result in ways to improve intersection safety.

The council was already reviewing 12 intersections before a coroner’s report last month into a triple-fatality at Mitcham Road in 2019 recommended it review 79 intersections with a similar layout.

The current review chose 12 intersections based on their level of risk from crash data over the past five years.

Ashburton Mayor Neil Brown said council had a duty of care to see that intersections were as safe as they could possibly be.

“The intersection report will show that and there may be improvements needed, or there may not.”

Council had been shown to have no blame in the 2019 crash, but everything needed to be done to help lower the risk of another terrible event occurring again, he said.

Speaking at council last week’s council meeting councillor John Falloon asked staff if this district was worse as far as intersections went compared to other territorial authorities with similar flat land and a large roading network.

He was told by council infrastructure services group manager Neil McCann that the district was not worse off and similar to neighbouring councils and others with similar networks.

“All that we do know is that compared and benchmarked with our statistics of fatalities and accidents we are slightly lower.”

Mr McCann said council did annual inspections of intersections and also reviewed intersections after any accidents.

Council has reviewed its signage since the 2019 crash and had replaced some give way signs with stop signs.

Any recommendations from the intersection review report would be taken on board for further inspections this year, he said.

Mr McCann said stop signs for rural roads were bigger than those on urban roads and council had now opted to go up a further size for its rural stop signs.

Councillor Diane Rawlinson said a work programme that used bigger and bolder road signing would be well recommended.

The 12 high risk intersections will have inspections completed and the results compiled by the end of June and the 79 from the coroner’s report will have inspections done and results compiled by the end of October.