Otumoetai's worst traffic pinch-point is to be fixed by two roundabouts at busy neighbouring intersections.

Roadworks have begun to improve traffic flows and eliminate risky manoeuvres at the Grange Rd and Sherwood St intersections with Otumoetai Rd.

City council transport manager Martin Parkes said the roundabouts would slow traffic and sort out safety issues associated with the Otumoetai Primary School, the shops and the service station.

The twin roundabout project arose out of a safety review and followed the success of the roundabouts at either end of the Merivale Shopping Centre that had significantly reduced speeds and improved safety.


Parkes said the council had worked with the school and retailers, with everyone "fairly comfortable" with the project.

Construction would include pedestrian linkages to remove the current hazardous situation in which intermediate and college pupils coming out of Sherwood St took the most direct route to cross Otumoetai Rd.

And a median barrier would eliminate the problem of motorists crossing across the line of approaching traffic to reach carparks. Instead, they would have to loop around the roundabouts.

Cruzaz Bar co-owner Vicki Wain said they got hoons speeding up and down Otumoetai Rd, so the roundabouts would be good for the school.

She believed her patrons would soon get used to using the roundabouts to arrive or depart the bar. "It's no biggie."

Wain said there had been lots of near misses from people pulling out of the carparks in front of the shops. There would be no disadvantage for Cruzaz because she also had car parks at the rear of the bar.

Hot Woks owner Marita Li said the new arrangement would be a lot easier for people to pick up their children from school and it would be better and less dangerous to get in and out of the shopping centre carparks.

"We are happy."

Forever Suntanz owner Yo Roberts, whose business fronted the Grange Rd side of the shopping block, welcomed the roundabout, saying customer cars would no longer get trapped by the lines of traffic backed from the intersection waiting to turn on to Otumoetai Rd.

Construction of the roundabouts might lead to short-term loss but there would be long-term gains, he said.

Roberts said it would be good if the council was able to take out the dip between the road and the shopping centre carpark to stop drivers scraping the underside of their cars.

He had seen crashes over the years from elderly drivers pulling out and being side-swiped. A bigger issue was when school finished and all the carparks filled up with parents' cars.

The Bay of Plenty Times was unable to contact the principal of Otumoetai Primary School for comment.

Otumoetai roundabout project
How much: $382,000
Completion: One month
Beneficiaries: School, shops, churches & motorists