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New roundabout, new headache at dangerous intersection – Stuff.co.nz

JEFFREY KITT

Last updated 15:24, August 17 2017

Jeffrey Kitt/STUFF

Truck drivers say it is extremely tight for heavy vehicles to turn at the Spring Creek roundabout.

A new roundabout designed to make one of the South Island’s most dangerous intersections safer has left truck drivers with “zero room for error”.

After almost a year of construction, the multimillion-dollar roundabout at Spring Creek, between Blenheim and Picton, has opened to traffic.

But truck driver Mark Richardson said the New Zealand Transport Agency’s solution made it extremely tight for heavy vehicles to turn.

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“You legitimately need to get your front wheels over as far as you can to make the turn, to the point where there is millimetres in it from hitting the side of the road,” he said.

READ MORE:
Business forced to cut staff as Spring Creek roundabout drags on
NZTA release final multimillion-dollar cost of Spring Creek roundabout
Spring Creek roundabout opening date pushed back to spring[1][2][3]

Fellow truck driver David Leask agreed the roundabout was tight, especially for larger rigs. “I’ve already had cones under the trailer, it’s very tight,” he said.

The Spring Creek roundabout has taken shape this week, with traffic taking to the $4.3 million intersection.

RICKY WILSON/STUFF

The Spring Creek roundabout has taken shape this week, with traffic taking to the $4.3 million intersection.

The intersection between State Highway 1, SH62 and Ferry Rd was one of the South Island’s highest risk intersections.

NZTA revealed last month the final cost to upgrade the intersection totalled $4.3 million.

The project had drawn the ire of business owners in the area, who said in June the lengthy construction process was hurting their takings.[4]

Traffic slows to 30kmh along State Highway 1 as it nears the roadworks. (File photo)

RICKY WILSON/STUFF

Traffic slows to 30kmh along State Highway 1 as it nears the roadworks. (File photo)

Junction Hotel and Bar owner Mike Pink could see the road from his business, and said some trucks looked too big for the roundabout.

“A lot of them can’t get around properly,” he said. “They’re struggling to turn without hitting the bollards.”

Road Transport Association Marlborough chairman Peter Heagney said he would wait until the roundabout was complete before passing judgement.

The intersection, between State Highway 1, SH62 and Ferry Rd at Spring Creek, about 6km north of Blenheim.

STUFF

The intersection, between State Highway 1, SH62 and Ferry Rd at Spring Creek, about 6km north of Blenheim.

Traffic lights were the preferred option for many in the trucking industry, so it would be interesting to see how the roundabout fared, he said.

Construction on the roundabout started in October last year, but poor weather and unforseen ground conditions pushed the June completion date back.

Over the past 10 years, 32 people had crashed at the Spring Creek crossing, which was part of a major freight line for heavy vehicles travelling to and from Picton.

Final surfacing and signage should be finished by the end of August.

RICKY WILSON/STUFF

Final surfacing and signage should be finished by the end of August.

Spring Creek Vintners general manager Gus Altschwager said upgraded traffic management at the intersection was a welcome sight.

Altschwager was in a crash at the intersection five years ago, and said the roundabout would make Spring Creek easier for all drivers to navigate safely.

“It is much safer than it has ever been, we’re just grateful it’s actually happening,” he said.

NZTA added this sign to the Junction Hotel and Bar in June.

RICKY WILSON/FAIRFAX NZ

NZTA added this sign to the Junction Hotel and Bar in June.

NZTA senior project manager Andrew Adams said traffic cones remained on the roundabout to protect the installation of road islands.

“As a result, it is a tighter space than it will be once completed for long and large vehicles like trucks to get around,” he said.

The roundabout followed standard safety specifications in terms of design, he added.

NZTA network manager Frank Porter said final surfacing and signage were expected by the end of August.

“Crews have made good progress over the last month after resolving all the issues with underground services, soil contamination and detailed pavement design,” Porter said.

“We thank the community and businesses most affected by this significant safety project for being patient as this project’s timeframe was extended due to some of these unforeseen circumstances.”

 – The Marlborough Express

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Road rage fuels attack on truck

JENNIFER EDER

Last updated 09:54, August 15 2017

Simon Anthony Stubbs admitted wilful damage at the Blenheim District Court. (File photo)

STUFF

Simon Anthony Stubbs admitted wilful damage at the Blenheim District Court. (File photo)

A man forced off a narrow road by a truck coming the other way took revenge by smashing the window of another truck he thought was owned by the same company.

Simon Anthony Stubbs, 42, was a passenger in a car driving on Wratts Rd in Rarangi, northwest of Blenheim, on July 27.

An approaching truck refused to make way for Stubbs’ car to get past, and his car was forced off the road to avoid a crash, a police summary said.

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Stubbs was so incensed he got out of the car and walked up to two other trucks sitting on the side of the road, which he believed to be from the same company, hoping to confront the drivers.

But both trucks drove away before he reached them.

This made Stubbs even angrier, the summary said.

Stubbs picked up a rock and threw it through the window of another parked truck.

Police charged him with wilful damage.

The company that owned the truck sought $379.10 in reparation. 

In court, his lawyer Philip Watson said Stubbs told police he wanted to make a complaint about the driving of the first truck driver.

“He was rather upset, as the summary says,” Watson said.

However, police were “not too receptive” to Stubbs’ complaint, Watson said.

Stubbs, a vineyard worker, was willing to pay back the money in weekly instalments, Watson said.

Judge Jan Kelly convicted Stubbs and sentenced to him to pay reparation at $25 a week, and 40 hours’ community work.

 – The Marlborough Express