New traffic signals for West Melton

NZTA announced at the end January 2020, that West Melton’s Weedons Ross Rd / State Highway 73 intersection will be included in the Canterbury Package, a $159M roading upgrade geared to provide residents with ‘safer and better travel choices’.

$34M has been allocated to the upgrade of three rural intersections in Tinwald, Ashburton and West Melton “to allow safer access for pedestrians and cyclists, particularly vulnerable school children.”

Traffic conjestion at the intersection

West Melton has wrestled with the impacts of State Highway 73 on its town for many years. Growing traffic, a growing population and distribution of services on either side of the main highway has been placing increasing strain on the intersection of Weedons Ross Rd and making it more and more dangerous for pedestrians, cyclists and school children to cross.

In past years, a pedestrian underpass was mooted as the most effective way to connect north and south areas of town, to the extent where it featured in the district plan and was considered with conceptual drawings along with the recent Wilfield Development.

Taking the petition initiative to the streets

This approach was deemed inappropriate and unnecessary by analysis undertaken at the time of the Wilfield development. With not enough space for a roundabout, full traffic light control with pedestrian crossing signals were determined as best solution, but this plan was put on hold as a result of road budget adjustments by central government in 2018.

With increasing traffic conjestion and risk to pedestrians at this location, the West Melton District Residents Association took the initiative to run a petition to parliament, calling the government to act to improve road safety.

Throughout October November 2020, WMDRA collected 2,333 signatures which Amy Adams MP was able to present to Parliamentary select committee in December.

Amy Adams MP presents 2,333 signatures for road safety improvements in West Melton

On January 29 2020, NZTA announced that West Melton would receive new traffic light controls for this intersection, including access for pedestrians, cyclists and school children. This is part of a $6.8B roading package announced by the Labour Government to get ‘our cities moving, save lives and boost productivity’.

West Melton’s intersection upgrade is currently expected to complete in 2022 / 2023. The Association thanks all those people who contributed to this outcome through their support for the road safety petition. We also wish to thank the many West Melton businesses for their help promoting and driving the petition initiative with their customers.