White and red crosses have begun to appear along State Highway 2 as residents express frustration with the lack of progress on roading upgrades.
Jean-Pierre Joubert took it upon himself to make a wooden cross to place outside his family business, Parklands Produce north of Te Puna.
The cross had the words "fix our road" painted across it to show roading officials upgrades to the road needed to be prioritised.
Joubert had lived in the area for 12 years and had seen first-hand the seriousness of crashes that often happened along the highway.
"Two weekends ago there was a crash right outside our property. It was pretty horrific, and my kids saw it too, they were pretty traumatised by it," he said.
Joubert was one of the first people on the scene to help before emergency services arrived.
"I have never seen so many crashes on one road before."
Joubert put his cross up on Friday night to raise awareness that there was "a problem with the road."
Te Puna businessman Sean Lett said he had made around 20 crosses that were ready to be put up in the coming days.
The Williams family had made six white crosses that they were going to put up at the end of Gill Lane, north of Te Puna, today.
Eleven-year-old Coco Williams said it was important to put the crosses close to the highway because the "road is really unsafe".
Her mum, Gin Williams said the crosses would be placed along a wall next to State Highway 2 to remind people how dangerous that stretch of road is.
"A lot of the time it's out of sight out of mind, so we wanted to bring it to the forefront of people's minds," Williams said.
A Facebook group, "Fix The Bloody Road", was set up by Andrew Hollis last Thursday and more than 1300 people had joined.
The social media group was a platform for people to organise and plan a campaign to ensure upgrades to State Highway 2 were given higher priority, Hollis said.
"All we want is for State Highway 2 to be the number one priority," he said.
A series of movements were in the works including "white cross forests" that were expected to be added to the existing crosses.
"It's great seeing the community getting involved and doing their own thing to have their voices heard."
Clusters of white crosses, from Tauranga to Katikati, would soon be placed along the highway to show the number of fatal and serious crashes there had been in recent years, Hollis said.
He said the crosses would not be placed in the exact spots people had lost their lives as he did not want to rehash traumatic memories for families affected.
Other ideas of the campaign included placing different coloured dots down the highway which would represent the severity of crashes in recent years and having a protest presence outside council offices in the coming weeks.
"This shows we actually aren't just shaking our pitchforks, we've got a range of less aggressive tactics."
Bay of Plenty Regional Council transport committee chairman Stuart Crosby said the crosses were another sign of frustration at the "lack of progress" there had been to roading upgrades.
"This is totally understandable," he said.
Crosby was "looking forward" to seeing a large number of submissions residents had made to the council's proposed Regional Land Transport Plan.
Transport Minister Phil Twyford could not be reached for comment but told NZME recently that the new Government Policy Statement on land transport would set a "much higher priority on safety".
"We understand how strongly Bay of Plenty residents feel about safety issues on this stretch of highway," he said.
NZ Transport Agency Central North Island Director of Regional Relationships, Parekawhia McLean, said the agency understood the concerns about State Highway 2 in the Bay of Plenty.
It was committed to working closely with communities, key stakeholders and the Government to deliver solutions that meet transport needs now and into the future, she said.
She said the Minister of Transport was developing the Government Policy Statement on land transport which guides the transport investment decisions made by the NZ Transport Agency.
The signals given by the Minister included prioritising safety, improving access to liveable cities and thriving regions through more investment in public transport, walking and cycling,
"The Transport Agency cannot comment on the future plans for specific transport projects until we have greater certainty about what the final Government Policy Statement will guide us to invest in and which projects we will deliver to meet the new Government priorities."