Roundabouts on Fenton St are essential to help avoid accidents on the district's most dangerous local road, council staff say.
Rotorua District Council works manager Peter Dine explained the necessity of building three new roundabouts along Fenton St after councillors questioned the need for the work, on behalf of some disgruntled ratepayers, during a committee meeting six weeks ago.
Mr Dine presented a report to councillors on Tuesday saying that since the Devon St roundabout - the first of three new roundabouts planned for Fenton St - was finished in June this year no accidents had been recorded at the intersection.
In the past 10 years, 28 accidents had been reported at the intersection.
The project has received some criticism from readers of The Daily Post in the past.
"What amazes me is that they make two lanes go into a single-lane roundabout," one reader said.
" I thought the one at Ranolf/Malfroy was a bit of a joke but at least there are two lanes into it."
Another reader said: "I use the road daily and now find it easier to bypass the roundabout.
"What a waste of ratepayers' money."
However, Mr Dine said other controversial traffic calming measures around town, such as the speed bumps on Clayton Rd, had led to a significant drop in accidents in the past eight years - from 494 in 2004/05 to 239 in 2011/12.
He used the roundabout at the intersection of Hinemoa and Hinemaru Sts as another example.
"Before construction in 2007, there were 5.7 crashes a year, since then the crash rate has been 0.5 crashes per year."
Mr Dine said 10 per cent of all road crashes on the district's roads happened along Fenton St and something needed to be done.
He said making the road safer was a priority in the council's 10-year plan.
In the past 10 years, Fenton St has seen 235 accidents, of which five were serious, 32 were minor, with a further 195 non-injury accidents.
Most of the accidents occurred at intersections of U-turn bays.
Mr Dine said that during construction of the two remaining roundabouts U-turn bays along the street would be closed off, forcing traffic to use the roundabouts to change direction. The next intersection to receive roundabout treatment would be the intersection of Fenton St and Marguerita St, followed by the intersection of Fenton St and Robertson St.
Mr Dine said the estimated cost of the entire project would be about $800,000, with funding being split between the council (44 per cent) and the New Zealand Transport Agency.
Councillors said they were happy with Mr Dine's report and work on the final two roundabouts would continue in March or April next year.