$1m upgrade for Te Puke town centre

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Design of the approved plans for Te Puke's main street, including an additional roundabout at Boucher Ave, and de-merging 40m each side of the roundabouts. Photo/Supplied
Design of the approved plans for Te Puke's main street, including an additional roundabout at Boucher Ave, and de-merging 40m each side of the roundabouts. Photo/Supplied

A $1 million upgrade for Te Puke's main street has been approved with work expected to begin in September, 2016.

Te Puke Community Board last night adopted plans to turn the existing double lane road layout between Boucher Ave and King Street into a single lane and build a new roundabout at Boucher Ave.

There will also be three pedestrian crossings, widened pedestrian areas, a dedicated parking aisle and landscaping.

The upgrade is part of a wider package of work being completed along Te Puke Highway over the next 15 months.

Western Bay of Plenty District Council Development Engineering Manager, Peter Clark, said the community board's decision follows public feedback earlier this year on three proposed options for the Te Puke Main Street upgrade.

Approved plans are in line with the most popular choice (Option 3) which was favoured 2:1 by the public over the option to retain the current 'two-lane each way' layout.

Mr Clark said testing of this option also proved it minimised traffic build-up during peak hours.

The new layout will mean increased safety for pedestrians and a more relaxed town environment, he said.

"By installing a third roundabout at Boucher Ave, traffic will have to slow down. We'll also be adding in features to the surface of the roundabouts, such as texture or colour changes, to encourage the drivers to slow down further, keeping traffic flow moving at a calm and safe rate."

A few minor adjustments were made to the initial plans following detailed traffic modelling in February and March.

This includes de-merging the single lane into two lanes 40m each side of entering the roundabouts.

"The traffic model showed a single lane around each roundabout created unacceptable delays at peak hour periods. We've solved this by making the single lane de-merge into two lanes each side of the roundabout, then merge back into one lane."

The upgrade will also include:

A parking aisle the length of the town centre to prevent parking vehicles from blocking moving traffic.

Widened pedestrian areas for additional space and opportunities for café/restaurant frontages

Two additional marked pedestrian crossings for increased safety

New landscape plantings for visual beautification

Feature walls at key intersections to replace the old bollards and provide seating

Extending the 'town centre environment' an additional block past the library and memorial hall.

Work is expected to take three months, and is planned to start in September this year.

The upgrade was being funded by New Zealand Transport Agency as part of its agreement with Council made during the handover of Te Puke Highway - previously State Highway 2.

NZTA was also funding a wider set of work during 2016/17 which includes resealing along Te Puke Highway, a proposed Welcome Bay roundabout and Waitangi upgrade.

Council was also contributing funding to improving the town's Northern entrance and minor intersection improvements.

All work will be complete by mid-2017. Plans can be viewed at Te Puke Library and Service Centre.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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