Katikati residents were celebrating a major victory yesterday after the New Zealand Transport Agency announced a bypass for the town would go ahead.

Locals have been fighting for a bypass for decades.

NZTA announced the bypass would be added to the State Highway 2 network between Tauranga and Waihi, but details on when work would start, where it would go and how much it would cost would not be available until later this year.

The lack of detail tempered celebrations yesterday.

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Katikati Community Board chairwoman Jenny Hobbs was "doing a jig" she was so elated the bypass had finally been approved.

The fight for a bypass was decades old, and many of the early advocates had since died - though they would be "sitting up in their graves today".

Mrs Hobbs had recently organised a petition for the bypass which gained nearly 4000 signatures online and thousands more on paper.

"It's really exciting, and now I want to make sure it's not something that's going to happen five years down the track, it's got to be done soon," she said.

She said the excitement most of Katikati would be feeling would be tempered with some fear - plans for a bypass have been promised on and off for many decades.

People will be wanting to trust and be joyful but we do need to ensure the planning for it and commitment dates of construction are sooner rather than later.

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"People will be wanting to trust and be joyful, but we do need to ensure the planning for it and commitment dates of construction are sooner rather than later."

Western Bay deputy mayor Mike Williams was "absolutely delighted" at the news.

Central government had tended to ignore the need for a bypass for many years, he said, but the town had kept fighting.

"They've been fighting ever since I moved here 24 years ago."

The reduction in traffic and trucks would make Katikati a more attractive place.

"We can make it a destination rather than a pass-through town," he said.

Katch Katikati's Jacqui Knight said it was exciting for the area which just kept growing.

"You don't believe it until you see the first bit of dirt turned or the big machines roll in but I don't think they can say no now, the pressure is too high on our roads."

NZTA's central North Island regional relationships director Parekawhia McLean said the number of vehicles using the road was growing much faster than expected,

"While further work will be required to determine the best route and the timing for design and construction, it's clear that removing the state highway from the town centre will keep people safe, continue to improve reliability for locals and tourists and improve access to Katikati," she said.

Transport Minister and Tauranga MP Simon Bridges said the bypass was a significant investment and would make a noticeable difference for motorists and ease freight movement.

"I'm pleased the particular concerns of the Katikati community are being taken on board."

Since the $520 million Waihi to Tauranga roading programme was announced in April last year, further investigations were done to develop detailed solutions along the corridor, including for Katikati.

At public open days and town hall meetings, many Katikati residents made their feelings known strongly and loudly - demanding a bypass for their town.

STREET VIEW:

We went to Katikati's main street to ask local residents what their thoughts were on the big annoucement for the bypass?

"I think there's an upside and a downside. Shops and businesses may suffer, which is unfortunate, I like to see local businesses thrive. But it's also a blessing for parking and getting in and out of Katikati which can be difficult at rush hour times."
Vrinda Taylor, 33, Katikati

"It should have been done years ago. I remember they were talking about it when they were building the Kaimai tunnel, and that was in the 1960s."
Ernie Davis, 77, Katikati

"It's great news. You can see all the traffic and trucks; it's ridiculous there hasn't been a bypass built before."
Terry McGrath, 77, Katikati

"Great. A lot of people think it's not good for businesses, but I think it won't make a difference to them. It will be nice to have no trucks coming through."
Greg Denton, 59, Katikati

"It's a great idea. I travel from Waihi, and it becomes a real bottleneck here. It will be great for the town."
Kate Fosbary, 56, Waihi