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 temporary roundabout.

This intersection upgrade to a roundabout is now complete. 

Temporary closure of Ruffell Road

We have been working with KiwiRail to prepare for the temporary closure of Ruffell Road, at the rail crossing near Onion Road. This closure will be in place from 1 February 2022

Following the closure, traffic volumes will clearly increase. The temporary roundabout at Te Kowhai East Road and Arthur Porter Drive has been installed to keep traffic flowing and provide some relief to the impacts of this increase in traffic. The asphalt platforms are a safety requirement to ensure that the traffic slows sufficiently and approaches the roundabout at safe speeds. This is particularly important to ensure all road users can use the roundabout safely, including people on bikes.

It's important to note, that this is not a permanent road closure, and we will be continuing to work towards reopening Ruffell Road as part of our 2021-31 Long Term Plan re-alignment of Onion Road. This re-alignment work will ensure the safety needs for this section of Ruffell Road and the level rail crossing are met before it is reopened to road users. Although this work is proposed for 2028/29, we will be reviewing the timing of this project over the next year.

Looking ahead to the future transport network in this area, the Rotokauri arterials designation project is currently under development to determine the future form and function of the arterials including the section of Te Kowhai East Road between Arthur Porter Drive and Te Rapa Road.

Once the closure is in place, please plan ahead and travel safely in this area. Traffic will be busier, so it's important to be patient and share the road safely with all other road users, including people on bikes. Temporarily closing a section of road is not a decision we take lightly, but 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 referencing 'Update: Onion/Ruffell level rail crossing'.

For frequently asked questions relating to this work, click here.


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: 17 Jan 2022 10:58am