Road Safety Improvements

​Ruffell Road and Onion Road intersection   

At Hamilton City Council's Infrastructure Operations Committee meeting in April 2021, a decision was made to support KiwiRail and the temporary closure of the Ruffell Road level rail crossing until safety issues for both road and rail users can be addressed.

Our staff had been monitoring the intersection and noted a number of non-compliant driver behaviour and near misses occurring there. These observations were in line with feedback we had received from the public. A level crossing safety impact assessment also concluded that the Ruffell Road level rail crossing is a dangerous level crossing where there is a medium to high risk of death or serious injury to those who cross the railway line.

The temporary closure of the Ruffell Road level rail crossing will mean traffic is diverted along Arthur Porter Drive. Recognising the impact this will have on traffic flow through the Arthur Porter Drive/Te Kowhai Road 'T' intersection, a decision was also made to upgrade this intersection to a roundabout.

Arthur Porter Drive/Te Kowhai Road roundabout works

Work on the roundabout at the Arthur Porter Drive/Te Kowhai intersection is now almost complete. There have been some delays with this work due to the recent lockdown, weather and resources being used on other projects happening in our transport network, such as the resurfacing on Wairere Drive. We also wanted to ensure we had gone through the appropriate design and safety checks associated with this work. Here is a brief update on where we are at:

  • The relocation of underground services, street lighting and catch pits, and the construction of kerb and channel, is complete.

  • Asphalt work, road marking, and the installation of speed cushions is expected to take place next week, planned to start the night of Tuesday 21 September, weather dependent

  • We are aiming to have this intersection upgrade completed by the end of next week.

Once the work at the Arthur Porter Drive/Te Kowhai intersection is complete, and the post construction safety audit has been carried out, work can begin on the Onion Road/Ruffell Road intersection to prepare it for the temporary closure of the level rail crossing. This work can take up to a week to complete. We therefore expect the closure to be in place by mid/late October. 

As part of Council's 2021-31 Long Term Plan (LTP), a re-alignment of Onion Road, between Koura Drive and Ruffell Road, to connect at the Arthur Porter Drive/Ruffell Road roundabout has been proposed for 2028/29.

The recommendation to temporarily close a section of the roading network is not made lightly. Our focus is on providing a transport network that is safe and accessible and this closure aligns with our Vision Zero target.

Want to receive updates about this? 

If you would like to receive updates on these works, please email roads@hcc.govt.nz referencing 'Update: Onion/Ruffell level rail crossing'.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION: January 2021

In December 2020 we made changes to the Ruffell Road and Onion Road intersection to address safety issues raised by KiwiRail at the adjacent Ruffell Road level rail crossing for both road and rail users.

Some key points to understand about the intersection and its safety issues:

  • The intersection's alignment didn't previously allow heavy vehicles to safely make the left turn out of Onion Road into Ruffell Road, without illegally crossing the centre line.
  • Some vehicles turning left had damaged the railway crossing barrier arm as they've driven over the rail tracks. This increased the risk of trains and vehicles colliding if the barrier arm can't operate properly.
  • There were six strikes on the barrier arm in 2020, which is designed to minimise damage both to itself and a striking vehicle if hit.
  • The length of the barrier arm makes it vulnerable to high winds when it's upright, so a wind fork was in place to ensure the arm returns to its correct position. The wind fork however was damaged and had to be temporarily removed.​

Staff undertook the following steps:

  • Monitoring the intersection, assessing driver behaviour – the outcome of this monitoring was used to assess future options.
  • Staff held a site visit with KiwiRail staff (26 January 2021) to discuss whether their barrier arm can be relocated.
  • A Level Crossing Safety Assessment of the Ruffell Road rail crossing was initiated and the site visit was completed 16 February 2021.




Page reviewed: 16 Sep 2021 2:19pm