Work to change the road layout along Claudelands Bridge and improve the connection between the central city and the suburbs ends this week, with only a small amount of road marking remaining.
Traffic management structures such as cones and electronic message boards will be removed gradually as road users become familiar with the new layout, but no further road closures will be required.
Hamilton City Council’s City Transportation Manager, Jason Harrison says: “A big thank you to Hamiltonians for their patience over the last seven weeks of construction which required the bridge to be closed each night.
“This is a milestone project for transport in Hamilton and was delivered as part of the Council’s Access Hamilton Strategy after it was identified as a key route in the Hamilton Biking Plan.”
The new-look bridge features green road markings called “sharrows” (sharing arrows). New to Hamilton, sharrows are an internationally recognised symbol and are used by many other cities across New Zealand. They appear as a bike symbol with a double chevron above it and indicate the safest part of the road for people to ride their bikes. Along the bridge, this is the centre of the lane, in the flow of traffic.
The changes have also seen concrete cycle lane separators used in the city for the first time and a reduction of the speed limit to 30km/hr. Textured bands of teal paint have also been applied to the road surface, creating a distinctive environment to help keep traffic speeds low and heighten motorists’ awareness of other road users, particularly people on bikes.
Mr Harrison says: “The completion of this project along Claudelands Bridge is an exciting step in the direction we’re already heading and we’ll be closely monitoring how road users adjust to the new layout over the coming months.”
“If you use the bridge regularly, please be mindful of people on bikes, especially at the points where they need to merge from the protected cycle lanes into the flow of traffic. If you find yourself driving behind a person on a bike, please keep a safe following distance so they don’t feel pressured to move onto the shoulder of the road.”
What you need to know about the new road layout:
- The speed limit is now 30km/hr – this is reinforced with new road signs and large orange road markings.
- New raised speed platforms also remind motorists to keep speeds low.
- On some sections along this stretch of road there are new cycle lanes protected by concrete separators.
- In other sections – like the bridge itself, where it is narrow – people on bikes are encouraged to claim the lane and ride in the flow of traffic. There are new green road markings called “sharrows” (sharing arrows) signalling for them to do this.
- Motorists are urged to leave a comfortable gap if they are driving behind a person on a bike so they don’t feel pressured to move over to the left.
- At merging points, where separated cycleways end and the “sharrows” begin, drivers need to give way to people on bikes and let them merge into the flow of traffic.
- Two electronic signs will flash with an image of a bike when a person on a bike is about to exit a protected cycleway – these remind drivers to stay on the lookout for bikes.
- People on bikes need to look, indicate and look again as they merge from a protected cycleway over into the traffic lane.