A new bus lane will be installed on one of Tauranga's major traffic pinch points.
The Tauranga City Council will install the bus lane from Hairini St along Turret Rd to improve the reliability of bus trips between Welcome Bay and the city.
Starting at the Hairini St bus stop, the bus lane will allow buses to take an uninterrupted trip down Hairini St and onto the causeway toward the Turret Rd bridge.
Council transportation manager Martin Parkes said the new bus lane was part of a larger effort to help make bus trips more reliable between Welcome Bay and the central city.
The bus lane would not affect any access to private properties. A separate exit and controlled left turn will be built at the end of Hairini St for people driving cars onto Turret Rd.
Parkes said this was one of several options the council has been investigating to help improve bus travel times.
"The bus lane is a step towards this. If traffic is stationary the new lane would allow the bus to pass about 110 cars."
The council has been looking at ways to make travel safer and easier for more people between Welcome Bay and Cameron Rd, including bus priority measures and upgrades to the cycle network.
Welcome Bay Transport Forum member Maleta Knight said the bus lane was a step in the right direction, but she did not think it would make much difference to the overall traffic flow.
"Without an extra lane on the bridge, there will still be a bottleneck. Until they get four-laning done for the bridge itself, I don't think it will make much difference. But it's a step in the right direction. Any action is better than none."
Knight said she understood public traffic would not be using Hairini St as a thoroughfare to the city once the underpass was opened, so having a bus lane might mean buses could cut traffic a fair bit.
She said having a bus lane straight from Welcome Bay to the city would definitely help the traffic.
Community information sessions will be held next month for people to learn more about proposed bus lanes and other improvements for 15th Ave.
The council has postponed work on a bus lane that had been proposed for a section of Welcome Bay Rd, Parkes said.
"We had a lot of valuable feedback about the Welcome Bay Rd bus lane. Weighing up the feedback, we've set that project aside until after the Maungatapu Underpass is open.
"In the meantime, the NZ Transport Agency and regional council have been supporting our planning toward putting a bus lane down Hairini Street and Turret Rd."
The NZ Transport Agency will build the new bus lane as part of the Maungatapu Underpass construction contract.