The New Zealand Transport Agency and the Hutt City Council are proposing to permanently close a State Highway 2 on-ramp in the Hutt Valley for safety reasons.
Grounsell Crescent and the northbound on-ramp in the Belmont area have frequently been the scenes of excessive speed and crashes for a number of years.
There were 85 reported crashes between Wairere Road intersection and the Grounsell Crescent Northbound on-ramp between 2012 and 2017, including five causing serious injury.
State Highway 2 motorists sometimes use Grounsell Crescent and the on-ramp to bypass the Grounsell Crescent traffic signals. This results in higher traffic volumes and vehicle speeds on Grounsell Crescent.
The on-ramp is relatively short, making it difficult for motorists to merge into traffic travelling on State Highway 2. Motorists often stop on the off-ramp or on the highway shoulder or enter the fast-moving highway traffic at low speed, increasing the risk of accidents (71 per cent of reported crashes are rear-end type accidents).
Council Traffic Assets Manager Damon Simmons says the on-ramp’s closure is the logical decision given the injuries and costs of accidents.
“Protecting life and improving people’s safety is the main aim of the proposed change, and this far outweighs any minor inconvenience to motorists who’ve used the on-ramp in the past.”
The proposed changes include:
- Closing the on-ramp to motorised vehicles using a solid lockable gate, that would still allow cyclists to use the on-ramp
- Making changes to the Grounsell Crescent/Hill Road intersection so through traffic has the priority. Vehicles exiting the on-ramp into Grounsell Crescent or Hill Road would be controlled by a stop sign
- Safety upgrades at the traffic signals would include high-friction surfacing and changing the signal phasing to provide greater protection for pedestrians
- Vegetation would also be removed in the vicinity of the traffic signals to improve visibility for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.
The Council is now consulting on the proposed changes, with submissions closing on 31 August.
Read more, and make a submission at huttcity.govt.nz/grounsellconsult