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
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.
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If you would like to receive updates on these works, please email email@example.com referencing 'Update: Onion/Ruffell level rail crossing'.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION: January 2021
- 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.