A newly established Tauranga road could be closed out of fears for cyclists' safety.

To date, there have been at least 10 complaints about the safety risk at the Welcome Bay Rd intersection with Welcome Bay Lane - a new slip lane leading towards Hairini.

The figures come after concerns were raised in a Bay of Plenty Times article last week that the junction was a serious accident waiting to happen.

A newly painted green cycleway which follows the path of Welcome Bay Rd towards the new Maungatapu Underpass also cuts across traffic travelling at 60km/h into the free turn into Welcome Bay Lane.


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A New Zealand Transport Agency spokeswoman, also speaking on behalf of Tauranga City Council, said in a written statement they introduced several more lane markers this week in an effort to slow down traffic to 40km/h. The intersection was being monitored daily "and if the new measures don't slow drivers down Welcome Bay Lane will be closed until a permanent solution can be put in place".

The spokeswoman said the intersection design met current engineering codes but the agency and council were investigating additional measures to improve cyclist safety, which was their first priority.

"Future options we are considering include: lowering the entry speed into Welcome Bay Lane; providing a safe bicycle crossing point further up the lane; 'speed calming' measures like speed bumps; or a cycle-only underpass underneath Welcome Bay Rd."

Both organisations would consult with the community "once we have more detail on the solutions".

Cyclist Ivan Davie, who raised his concerns last week, said he was pleased the safety risks of the intersection were being taken seriously. However, he questioned at what speed would traffic need to slow down to in order to prevent injury to a cyclist.

Welcome Bay councillor Terry Molloy said the intersection's safety risks were a major issue and "the fact they are still experimenting means it wasn't really thought through".

"Safety has to be an absolute priority."

AA Bay of Plenty/Coromandel chairman Terry Molloy says safety has to be a top priority at the Welcome Bay Rd and Welcome Bay Lane intersection. Photo/file
AA Bay of Plenty/Coromandel chairman Terry Molloy says safety has to be a top priority at the Welcome Bay Rd and Welcome Bay Lane intersection. Photo/file

Molloy, who is also chairman of the Automobile Association's Bay of Plenty/Coromandel board, said when the underpass was originally decided upon eight to nine years ago, traffic levels were significantly lower. He was disappointed more factors like subsequent traffic growth did not appear to have been taken into account.

However, he appreciated the organisations also had to make a trial of free school buses work, which would not unless more bus lanes were introduced to make buses more appealing.

Whatever the outcome, it would take a while, Molloy said.

Welcome Bay Transport Forum member Maleta Knight said the safest option was to have a cycleway separate from traffic and protected by a barrier.

"Cyclists on Welcome Bay Rd don't feel safe at all. I know many who ride on the footpath instead."

The Maungatapu Underpass opened to traffic on June 22.