Calls for action on killer corner

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Calls are mounting for the NZ Transport Agency to take action on the Cherry Lane killer corner.

A Cherry Ln-SH1 crash in 2011 that put an elderly woman in hospital
A Cherry Ln-SH1 crash in 2011 that put an elderly woman in hospital

With the most recent fatal accident at the intersection with State Highway 1 only days ago, Cherry Lane residents took their concerns to last night’s annual planning meeting with the Waikato District Council.

Tamahere Councillor Wally Hayes was also quick to call for action after the April 3 death of Hamilton civil campaigner John Easto at the Cherry Lane-SH1 crossroad.

“It’s one of the most dangerous intersections in the Waikato district,” said Hayes who has called on the council and NZTA to work together to review speeds on SH1 and Cherry Lane.

Over the years, there have been repeated calls for a speed reduction to 80km/hr on the stretch of SH1 past Cherry Lane but they have been ignored while the death and injury toll has climbed.

After Mr Easto died NZTA said the safety situation at the corner would improve in five or six years – after the Hamilton section of the Waikato expressway was completed in 2019-20.

The expressway will bring a new interchange that will separate traffic from Cherry Lane and Bollard Rd from through traffic, travelling at open highway speeds, along SH 1.

Cr Hayes asks whether NZTA is prepared to “sit on its hands with fingers crossed” for the next six years until the expressway interchange is built.

“I cannot understand, in this day and age, when trucks do not chug up the hill heading south out of the city that a passing lane is necessary, especially when people are speeding up only to be first into a single lane again,” he said of the section of SH1 leading to the Tamahere straight past Cherry Lane.

At last night’s hour-long, council annual plan meeting, more than half the time was devoted to complaints about inaction on the killer corner and calls for something to be done.

At the regular monthly Tamahere Community Committee meeting that followed the Cherry Lane-SH1 issue was already on the agenda for discussion. The committee decided to add its weight to the rising calls and will set out the case for a reduced speed limit to both NZTA and the Waikato Regional Council land transport committee.

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