Early days for new system

Traffic engineers are expecting it will take some time to fine tune the Welcome Bay-Maungatapu roundabout lights.

The new lights in action.

The new system began operating on schedule before Christmas, but nothing will be done about fine tuning it for a while yet, says senior project manager for the NZ Transport Agency Kevin Reid.
“We don’t want to make any decisions in terms of changing the lights’ timing until we get the schools back, and it has time to settle down,” he says.
“At the moment we’re happy with the way it is working, it is generally working well. There will be a few areas where we can improve it, but we will wait for the traffic to settle down and make some decisions then.”
With the roundabout lights making it easier to get into town, Kevin says there may be more pressure on Turret road/15th Avenue.
“One of the things we are able to do with the roundabout is to manage traffic going into town using the lights to hold traffic back a bit,” says Kevin.
“You can move the queues that back up from Turret Road, if those get near the roundabout. You don’t want the queue to go into the roundabout, it will lock the roundabout up – which was the problem previously.
“It can take some time to get the system going again, which used to be the problem every night coming out of town.
“You don’t have to hold it back for very long, one minute is long enough.”
Kevin says similar systems are used elsewhere to control traffic flows. The full capabilities of the Maungatapu/Welcome Bay roundabout system are not being used yet.
“It’s something for future years as we get more growth, and traffic volumes increase. Like any piece of new technology, we will start with the simple stuff and make sure it works before we make real use of it.”


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