Page last updated at 11:22 GMT, Monday, 7 April 2008 12:22 UK

New Zealand city to get Whirlies

Whirlies roundabout
Traffic lights were added to the Whirlies in 2005 to ease congestion

A city in New Zealand is set to replicate East Kilbride's famous 'Whirlies' roundabout in a bid to ease its congestion problems.

Planners in the North Island city of Tauranga said it would be the first signalised roundabout in the country.

The idea came from a former South Lanarkshire council worker who found similarities between the roads.

The network of traffic lights on the Whirlies is credited with solving the South Lanarkshire town's traffic jams.

Jim McGuire, who left South Lanarkshire Council to work for the New Zealand highways agency, Transit, noticed the congestion hot spot at Welcome Bay, Tauranga, was almost identical to that in East Kilbride.

'Small world'

He suggested Transit contact UK intersection expert Barbara Chard for advice.

The roundabout in Tauranga is said to be similar to the Whirlies

Kevin Reid, Transit's project manager for the roundabout in Tauranga, said the East Kilbride model should help solve their traffic problems.

He said: "We are confident that the travelling public will see a marked improvement in journey times once this work is completed."

The Whirlies is one of more than 85 roundabouts in East Kilbride. Traffic lights were added in 2005 to ease congestion.

Cllr Chris Thompson, chair of South Lanarkshire Council's Enterprise Resources Committee, said: "It's amazing to think that two communities on different sides of the planet can have such similarities. It is indeed a small world.

"When Transit New Zealand got in touch to ask if we would help then we were only too happy as I believe the system at the Whirlies has greatly improved traffic flow. Hopefully the people of Tauranga will reap the same benefits."

Work on the roundabout in Tauranga is due to start in August.

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