A Tauranga man says in his view it is only a matter of time before someone is killed outside his home, with drivers tearing up his verge to bypass safety barriers and road-rage fist fights in the street.
Last Saturday, Cameron Childerhouse's security camera captured a driver mounting the verge on Welcome Bay Rd and careening across driveways near the entrance to Welcome Bay Lane.
In other cases, drivers have physically got out of their vehicles to move bollards Childerhouse said. He was at his "wits' end".
There have been at least six crashes Childerhouse knows of outside his home since the completion of the Maungatapu Underpass in June, he said.
In that time, Tauranga City Council has received three complaints from motorists concerned at the impact on traffic flow since the Welcome Bay Lane closure.
Childerhouse said in his opinion "it's only a matter of time before someone is killed''.
"If it's not a cyclist who will be killed, it will be one of those drivers mounting the verge or someone speeding ... they are taking that corner as abominable speed," Childerhouse said.
"I've got a lot to do with motorsport and I used to be a firefighter, I would easily estimate these vehicles are travelling at 100km/h to 120km/h."
The speed limit on Welcome Bay Rd is 60km/h, but a 30km/h limit was imposed when the Tauranga City Council introduced the closure to Welcome Bay Lane after an independent audit confirmed it was too dangerous.
Childerhouse said permanent barriers needed to be installed in the centre and sides of the road, including the entrance to Welcome Bay Lane, and the speed limit lowered to 50km/h.
Addressing merging frustration in the area would also help, he said.
"There have been two fist fights of people dragging people out of cars and starting to punch them or kicking them on the ground. I'm not kidding. It's almost worth having a couple of extra cameras for that."
Acting head of Western Bay road policing Sergeant Wayne Hunter said the short-cutting driver displayed "stupid behaviour and would have only saved him at most 90 seconds..."
Tauranga City Council transportation manager Martin Parkes said the "reckless behaviour" was of serious concern.
"The reason for the temporary closure of Welcome Bay Lane was to make it safer for cyclists using Welcome Bay Rd and the concerns for cyclists at this intersection that came from an independent cycle safety review."
Parkes said the council, with NZ Transport Agency, was looking whether to make Welcome Bay Lane's closure permanent as part of "finding the right solutions that will work for as many different people as possible".
Some neighbours weren't home when Bay of Plenty Times knocked on doors this week, but others said they were aware of the safety issues.
Welcome Bay Vets owner John Drummond suggested there could be a "slightly raised" cycle lane, which would encourage cars to slow down.
Timeline of Welcome Bay's traffic woes
- June 22, 2018: Maungatapu Underpass opens to traffic.
- June 25, 2018: The Turret Rd access from Hairini St is closed due to concerns about drivers' safety.
- July 31, 2018: Welcome Bay cyclists raise concerns someone will be killed at the Welcome Bay Rd and Welcome Bay Ln intersection, where a cycle lane cuts across a free turn.
- August 22, 2018: An independent safety review of the $45m Maungatapu Underpass is commissioned by Tauranga City Council.
- September 28, 2018: Access to Welcome Bay Ln is closed to traffic, following concerns from cyclists.
- October 15, 2018: The safety review highlighted 25 concerns involving the Maungatapu Underpass, prompting the future closer of access to Welcome Bay Ln until alternative options are found.