Lights that control traffic flow at the Donald Bruce Road roundabout work site were vandalised on Easter Monday. Dillon Ratima, whose company, Hauraki Traffic Services, is contracted to manage traffic at the site, says he is frustrated with the damage, which left him with no choice but to spend $22,000 on a set of traffic lights as replacement parts were not available and no other lights were available for lease.
Ratima says wires that connected the vehicle actuator that controls which set of lights is green at any time were pulled out. He says the damage occurred overnight and there were no sightings of suspects. He has also spent more than $2000 installing security cameras at the site.
Ratima says the damage meant that over the four days that there was no vehicle actuator, the traffic lights were operating on a cycle around each of the access points to the intersection which caused long waits for drivers going through the intersection last week.
Ratima says he understands that Waiheke residents are frustrated with the delays caused by the work at the roundabout but he’s also concerned about the mounting costs for his business, and with around three months to go before the project is expected to be completed, he’s worried that more costs like this could sink his company.
Having run Hauraki Traffic Services for two and a half years, he says he’s used to the odd cone going missing but not equipment being damaged.
Delays at the intersection frustrated the island’s drivers since the project, which will add speed bumps and pedestrian crossings to the intersection, started on 11 April.
“We’ve bitten off a bit of a monster,” Ratima says, adding that he is constantly tweaking the set-up of the traffic light system. He says most drivers are now down to a median four-minute wait outside peak times, where the wait time was eight to nine minutes when the project began. • Erin Johnson