More than $22m worth of Tauranga roading projects have been put on hold as frustrated city leaders protest a "paralysis" of action from the Government.
The decision to stop awarding new contracts for transportation upgrades was made at a confidential meeting at Tauranga City Council on Tuesday.
The meeting's resolution was later made public but most of the projects now on hold remain confidential due to commercial sensitivity.
However, the Bay of Plenty Times has learned the proposed widening of 15th Ave is among the projects now in limbo.
Tauranga Mayor Greg Brownless said the council decided "to take a stand, to get some answers".
"If we just sit and do nothing, nothing's going to happen, that's for sure."
The decision comes after months of frustration at the city's increasing levels of traffic and accidents, yet a lag in progress of key roading projects.
Several of those projects were "ready to go" but the NZ Transport Agency's lack of action has hampered the ability to progress them any further, Brownless said.
In September, Brownless and Western Bay Mayor Garry Webber were among a contingent of city leaders who travelled to Wellington to meet with NZTA authorities, expressing concern at the delays.
"There just seems to be a paralysis of the organisation," Brownless said.
While the Wellington meetings were well received, nothing appeared to come of them, Brownless said.
Brownless was also frustrated at continued Government pressure on local authorities to open up land for housing, when pleas for help to provide appropriate transportation infrastructure for such projects were going ignored, he said.
NZTA oversees the management of all state highways and provides a half share of funding for local roads, usually overseen by local government.
Tauranga council chief executive Marty Grenfell said the decision was "political", and major.
"This is a significant decision to make and get the parties to the table."
Western Bay of Plenty Mayor Garry Webber said his council had already spent its allocated money on its proposed projects so it would not follow Tauranga's example.
However, Tauranga had the Western Bay council's "full support".
"It's the same position we are in with State Highway 2, where NZTA has made these commitments in the past but we are having difficulty having it actually turn up," Webber said.
Webber said issues surrounding SH2 and the Ōmokoroa interchange were among the examples of the Western Bay council "desperately waiting" on NZTA.
"In the case of Ōmokoroa, the Western Bay ... fulfilled our requirements but it seems as though NZTA is in a different bubble to the rest of the world.
"It's just so damn frustrating," he said.
"We get told 'you will have something by August', 'something by Christmas', we are still waiting. Nothing changes from our perspective other than the increase in the number of vehicles on the roads, and the number of deaths.
"SH2 is considered the most dangerous road in New Zealand but that doesn't seem to be a priority."
Regardless of which government was in place, the issues stemmed back beyond the current government, the National-led government before then and the Labour government before then, Webber said.
In a written response to questions asking what the Government will do in response to the council's decision, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said: "I don't want to see delays in Tauranga's transport plan being rolled out and if the Tauranga City Council believe that NZTA is not moving fast enough, I encourage them to write to me and lay out their concerns in detail.
"I'm happy to take up any concerns with NZTA to ensure that the regional transport plan is implemented as quickly as possible."
Tauranga MP, and leader of the National party, Simon Bridges said although the decision was radical, "it may be the jolt required to get attention and get big projects up and going".
Bay of Plenty MP Todd Muller said he was appalled.
"We are the fifth-biggest city in the country, we are in a gridlock ... it's totally unacceptable ... to me it seems a deliberate attempt to prioritise other parts of the country at Tauranga's expense.''
NZTA was unable to respond to requests for an interview before deadline yesterday.