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Life on Lake Rd: Woken by a smash – again

Flagstaff Team

Crash corner… Lake Rd resident Peter Burridge with the wreckage of a gate and rock wall damaged in the latest car accident at his property

When a careering car crashed through the frontage of a Hauraki property in the middle of the night, its retired residents thought a bomb had gone off. Now Peter and Barbara Burridge would like Auckland Transport (AT) to wake up to their plight, living on a curved section of Lake Rd.

The crash was at 3am on 6 May, during level-3 lockdown. Five young people were lucky to escape with their lives when the car they were in, heading north, crossed the centre line near a pedestrian island shortly past the Clifton Rd junction. It smashed into the Burridges’ reinforced concrete fence, wiped out their metal gates, ploughed through their offstreet parking area and bounced off a retaining wall before demolishing a sturdy stone fence and falling back to rest against a large tree.

Remarkably, its occupants were not badly hurt. Police arrived quickly and one person was charged with a driving offence.

“It’s unbelievable, the damage,” Burridge says.

But it’s not surprising, given there have been half a dozen crashes at the property over the last 20 years.

In a particularly bad one, six years ago, a vehicle hit a power pole at the front of his property, causing an outage to around 600 homes. More recently, another gate was damaged.

Neighbour Bede Robinson has also had his electric gate and fence hit in several incidents. The latest one next door awoke him with a start.

“It was certainly the most impressive to date, put it that way,” he observes.

“The engine was still revving.”

The shared rock wall, which had replaced a flimsier fence, probably prevented the car sailing through into Robinson’s house.

With Lake Rd improvements deferred, the neighbours wonder if this might be an opportunity for AT to look again at this section of road.

Burridge wrote to AT about the latest crash two days after it occurred, asking for a meeting to see what might be done to help avoid more accidents. Despite following up, he says there has been no response to this suggestion.

Bollards might be an option to prevent more damage, he suggests.

Devonport-Takapuna Local Board member George Wood has also contacted AT on his behalf.

Burridge knows there is no easy fix, but says:

“We’d like to be able to discuss it with AT.”

Underlining of powerlines would remove one crash risk.

He knows speed limits are unlikely to deter speedsters, especially at night-time, but he says the road surface could be an issue, particularly when wet. During the day, sunstrike coming round the curve can be a problem, he says.

The Burridges face a bill they estimate may surpass $50,000 to replace their gates and damaged sections of fence, plus rebuild the shared rock wall. They have insurance, but worry any more crashes will make their frontage uninsurable or their policy subject to a big excess.

“The end result is we are out of pocket.”

This article originally appeared in the 3 July 2020 edition of the Flagstaff. Read online here.

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