The victim of a crash at Barkes Corner says the design of the new roundabout metering lights was a "total balls-up".

The NZ Transport Agency says it does not know how much it will cost to fix the lights, which it admitted this week were "not intuitive enough for some road users", so it was making improvements.

The roundabout metering lights - believed to be the first for a New Zealand highway - were installed as part of an $890,000 project to reduce traffic congestion at two Tauranga intersections.

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They were activated on September 17 were turned off on September 20 after two crashes that morning.

"It was a total balls-up," said Rewa Martin, whose car was written off in the first crash, of the lights.

She wanted them removed or at the very least better signposted.

Martin, 37, said about 9.30am she had driven on to the roundabout from Cameron Rd, which does not have lights.

She was indicating off for Tauriko when a car coming from Pyes Pa Rd, which has metering lights, collided with her front passenger side.

Martin said she later heard the other driver claim "the light was green".

She said both cars were write-offs, she lost a full tank of gas - "that's a day's wages, gone" - and broke her tooth bracing for impact.

"It has left me very stressed."

The police did not take any further action after the crash. A spokeswoman said it appeared one of the drivers involved had failed to give way but it was not clear which one.

Rob Campbell, the agency's transport system manager for the Bay of Plenty, said the SH29A lights - but not those on Pyes Pa Rd - would be moved further from the roundabout.

The roundabout metering lights on SH29A will be moved further from the roundabout. Photo/John Borren
The roundabout metering lights on SH29A will be moved further from the roundabout. Photo/John Borren

The green light at both spots will be removed, having only off-amber-red phasing as used in some parts of Australia.

It aimed to have the lights back within four weeks for a 12- to 18-month trial.

The agency has also redesigned its plan for the second set of the lights at Elizabeth St and State Highway 2, for which groundworks had started.

The two roundabout metering projects had an $890,000 budget and the Campbell did not know whether the changes at Barkes Corner could be done within that budget.

SH29A at Barkes Corner was understood by the agency to be the first highway in New Zealand to trial roundabout metering lights.

They had been used on local roads in Auckland without the confusion seen at Barkes Corner, but each traffic situation was unique.

Lance Hansen's work overlooked the roundabout and he was concerned about the lights. Photo/Andrew Warner
Lance Hansen's work overlooked the roundabout and he was concerned about the lights. Photo/Andrew Warner

Lance Hansen, a senior customer services worker at Hirepool on Pyes Pa Rd who raised concerns about the lights, said it would be "very interesting" to see how the relocation and new system went.

He believed that moving the lights and taking the green light out of the equation was more logical.

"It should definitely be better than what was there before. But why not just have regular traffic lights like at the Welcome Bay roundabout?"

How new lights will work

- Standard give way rules always apply
- Quiet traffic = lights off
- Queues form = lights activate
- Amber-to-red lights stop vehicles for 30-60 seconds
- Red light off = approach roundabout and give way

Source: NZ Transport Agency