One of Te Puke’s busy roads will get a partial reconstruction to improve safety and make it more user-friendly.
Currently, parts of the road are too narrow for the volume and type of traffic. There are also sections where the road has reached the end of its life, causing problems for heavy vehicles using the road to access horticultural businesses.
So, maintenance is not going to be enough.
This announcement comes after residents raised safety concerns with the council in 2022.
At the time, Western Bay of Plenty District Council transportation manager Jim Paterson
said council staff have been working with residents since 2016
and have changed the location of the 80/50km/h speed limit boundary to 950m south of Te Puke Highway intersection, through council’s speed limit bylaw review in 2020.
“We’re planning to go a little further and include other road improvements such as seal widening, drainage upgrades and road rehabilitation.”
Fast-forward to 2023, where plans are now in place to move ahead with upgrading the busy rural road.
“We know that our Te Puke community are unhappy with the condition of this road and the safety risks it brings, and so are we,” says Council’s general manager infrastructure group Cedric Crow.
“Widening it and redoing the parts that have reached the end of their life will be very beneficial for those who use No. 1 Road.”
Earlier this year, Council completed six weeks of works on the road to ‘hold’ the pavement over winter.
This included heavy patching - digging up the uneven surfaces and laying asphalt – to improve safety and maintain the road as best as possible in the short term.
Initial plans were to rehabilitate the lower section of No. 1 Road in 2019 but decided to postpone the works until after Tauranga City Council had constructed the Waiari trunk watermain. The watermain project was completed in 2020.
Councillors also approved work to lower the road at the intersection with Cannell Farm Drive, in preparation for future extension works to join the two.
The widening of the remaining three sections of road and the creation of a separate 3m shared pathway will be revisited after the rehabilitation works.
In June, Council applied for funding from Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency to subsidise the shared pathway but this was declined because there are currently inadequate funds available from the National Land Transport Fund, although funding may be available in the future.
“If we were to proceed with the full programme of work right now for No.1 Road, we’d have a funding gap of at least 50 per cent,” adds Cedric.
Works are expected to begin this summer.