Roundabout danger prompts action

Thursday March 16, 2017 Written by Published in Local
Sergeant Avele Naku watches the roundabout by the entrance to Avatiu wharf yesterday afternoon. 17031421 Sergeant Avele Naku watches the roundabout by the entrance to Avatiu wharf yesterday afternoon. 17031421

A traffic accident at the roundabout near the Avatiu wharf has sparked almost instant action from authorities who want to make the busy intersection safer.

 

Miller Rongo was going to work at Rongohiva Watersports when she was hit by a motorist. She had come down the street by the water station and headed towards the port entrance when the incident happened.

Miller was knocked from her motorbike and suffered injuries to her ankle and side. She spent Tuesday afternoon in Rarotonga Hospital being examined.

Her employer Jackie Rongo raised her concerns about safety at the roundabout on social media after the accident.

She said: “This seems to be a high-risk area for accidents … we’ve witnessed a few … the latest being one of our staff members.

“Thankfully there were no serious injuries, only both parties were shaken up from the incident.”

Jackie advised drivers coming into the intersection from the direction of the airport to make sure they give way to traffic coming from their right.

She said not all motorists coming from Avatiu Rd behind the Pandanus petrol station turned right at the roundabout. Many, she wrote, drive straight into the Ports Authority and harbour areas.

Doing so makes them vulnerable to being hit side-on by cars not giving way.

Jackie said she had advised Infrastructure Cook Islands and Cook Islands Police Service and hoped a Give Way sign could be put up.

“Hopefully that will clarify any confusion and prevent future accidents. Will see how we go.”

As most road users know, the many entrances and exits to that roundabout can be confusing. Not only is there the entrance to the wharf area, but also an exit that allows vehicles – often trucks, to turn right into the roundabout from behind the two lanes coming from the town end.

When this was pointed out to a police officer he instantly saw the problem.

Social media users suggested the roundabout needs extra lighting, road cats’ eyes, lane markings repainted and raise drivers’ awareness to indicate.

Police Commissioner Maara Tetava asked a senior officer to look into the matter and discuss it with Infrastructure Cook Islands.

ICI’s Vaipo Mataora thanked Jackie for raising the issue and said he had met with engineers “straight after our phone discussion to get the orders for the signs sorted out so we can procure the signs and to be established at the roundabout as soon as possible.”

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