Sonya is a social issues reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Te Puke main street to see single lanes after upgrade

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The design of planned improvements to Te Puke's main street. Image/Supplied
The design of planned improvements to Te Puke's main street. Image/Supplied

Te Puke will have its main street's double laning removed in a $1 million renovation starting in September.

On Thursday, Te Puke Community Board adopted plans to turn the existing double-lane road layout between Boucher Ave and King St into single lanes.

A new roundabout will be built at Boucher Ave and there will also be three pedestrian crossings, widened pedestrian areas, a dedicated parking aisle and landscaping.

Western Bay of Plenty District Council development engineering manager Peter Clark said the community board's decision followed public feedback earlier this year on three proposed options for the Te Puke main street upgrade.

Approved plans were in line with the most popular choice, Option 3, which Mr Clark said was favoured two-to-one by the public over the option to retain the current double-laned layout.

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

Te Puke Economic Development Group (Te Puke EDG) has been campaigning against the removal of double laning along Te Puke's main road, but chief executive Mark Boyle said he was happy with the outcome.

The roundabouts would remain double-laned while the rest of the street would be single-laned.

"This has been a sensible outcome. Right through this process, Te Puke EDG had real concerns about single lanes. This is something that has been talked about for a number of years now. Out of all that process has come a compromise."

Mr Boyle said the upgrade was based on "really good traffic modelling" so he believed the result was sensible.

The new roundabout at Boucher Ave would help address issues with turning and other safety issues, Mr Boyle said.

Te Puke EDG would continue to lobby for other changes to the Te Puke Highway outside of the township, he said.

The organisation wanted improvements to intersections that were impacted by heavy traffic in kiwifruit season, including No1 Rd, No3 Rd, Washer Rd and Collins Lane.

"During the peak of the kiwifruit season there's a lot of issues around accessing those roads. We'd like upgrades including roundabouts at those roads to make it more streamlined."

The upgrade was being funded by the New Zealand Transport Agency as part of its agreement with the district council.

The agency was also funding a wider set of work which includes resealing along Te Puke Highway, a proposed Welcome Bay roundabout and Waitangi upgrade.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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