People navigating the busy Whakatāne turn-off will soon feel more comfortable turning as a new roundabout will safely slow state highway traffic down.
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Regional Manager Infrastructure Delivery Jo Wilton says everyone should get to where they are going safely and $6.4 million funding has been secured to build a new roundabout at the State Highway 30/State Highway 33 Te Ngae Junction (Whakatāne turn-off), so people can feel more at ease when using this busy intersection.
Waka Kotahi has listened to the community, and Ngāti Rangiteaorere, who have raised concerns in the past about people’s safety.
“We’ve heard people say traffic is going too fast and turning is difficult at SH30/SH33 and Rangiteaorere Road intersections, so we are absolutely thrilled to have funding to address these issues.”
This investment is part of Road to Zero and building a roundabout to slow down traffic and make it safer and easier for people to turn.
“Road to Zero sets us on a path to achieve Vision Zero, an Aotearoa New Zealand where no one is killed or seriously injured on our roads. One of the key focus areas of this strategy is improving safety along high-risk sections of road where deaths and serious injuries occur,” Ms Wilton says.
“A new roundabout at the SH30/SH33 intersection and right-turn bay into Rangiteaorere Road will save lives,” Ms Wilton says.
“People on bikes will also benefit from these improvements, making it safer so they don’t have to navigate a busy roundabout. Cyclists heading north will be able to safely bypass the intersection by using a cycle path along Rangiteaorere Road. Meanwhile, reduced vehicle speeds and road shoulders will also make it safer for cyclists coming from the other directions.”
Construction is expected to start in mid-2022 and is scheduled to be completed by early 2023.
Between 2016-2020, five people lost their lives or were seriously injured at this intersection. Most of the crashes were caused by vehicles turning right, cars travelling too fast and poor visibility.
Waka Kotahi has worked closely with representatives from Ngāti Rangiteaorere, Ngāti Tuteniu, Uenukukōpako and Rotorua Lakes Council throughout the design process, and spoken with residents affected by this project, with everyone very pleased to see this work being done.