Lights switched on at northern gateway into town
New traffic lights at the intersection of Wairakei Drive and Norman Smith Street went live yesterday, and they are now being closely monitored.
The new intersection layout includes two right turning lanes from Norman Smith Street into Wairakei Drive, pedestrian crossings, cycle lanes and two lanes on Wairakei Drive merging before the Control Gates bridge.
Taupō District Council’s head of operations Kevin Strongman said the traffic flow would improve as road users got used to the new layout and any required adjustments to phasing of the signals were made.
“At the moment the extra right turning lane out of Norman Smith is largely not being used, so we have digital signage alerting people to use the two lanes to allow more traffic through faster,” he said. “The flow on effect from this is that the two south-bound lanes into the town centre on Wairakei Drive are also not being used as they should. Once we get through these teething issues things should improve.”
The council will be monitoring the intersection over the coming weeks to make any adjustments required to the phasing of the lights in the future.
“We encourage motorists using the new intersection to give the lights a chance and embrace the changes – they have been designed to give everyone a fair go and allow traffic from all angles to access and depart the town centre more easily,” Mr Strongman said. “We know it can be a tough adjustment for those used to the old layout but we hope people will exercise patience and see the benefits of the new system in the next few months.”
The traffic lights and intersection adjustments were part of a five phase safety improvements project completed by contractors for the council earlier this month. Other improvements included the widening of the shared path that runs alongside Wairakei Drive, minor changes to the intersections of Wairakei Drive with Poihipi Road and Huka Falls Road, traffic calming measures and the introduction of a north-bound cycle lane going up Control Gates Hill.