After years of playing chicken with highway traffic, walkers and cyclists in Tairua are celebrating Waka Kotahi's intention to build a footbridge over Graham's Stream.
However Walk Tairua committee chairwoman Cherry Ladd says it was a "slap in the face" that the group that's lobbied since the start of 2019 for a solution learned of the pedestrian bolt-on bridge via a media release by the transport agency.
The SH25 one way bridge - one of three in the vicinity of Tairua - required pedestrians to race across on a shared roadway with vehicles.
Many locals use the bridge for a loop of the town. Avoiding it adds an extra 3km walk or cycle from Ocean Beach Rd to town.
Many have reported frightening dashes as some drivers fail to stop and drive on the bridge while pedestrians are already walking across it.
"We all realise that we desperately need this. I've stopped walking around there because you feel like you are taking your life in your hands," says Walk Tairua committee member Joyce Birdsall.
Waikato system manager Cara Lauder says the suspension footbridge will sit approximately five metres downstream of the existing single-lane state highway bridge and will include a path across the berm to connect it with the road.
Construction is hoped to start in the next few weeks, subject to consents and other factors.
Cherry said the announcement "came out of the blue", and the committee had only emailed to ask for an update a week before the media statement from Waka Kotahi was immediately shared by Thames-Coromandel District Council.
"Why did it have to come through on a newsletter from TCDC? That strikes me as being a bit rude, a slap in the face," Cherry says.
The group had lobbied since 2019 and been in regular contact with Waka Kotahi.
"We had what I would call very unsatisfactory meetings with NZTA, some little while ago the bottom line was almost we need somebody to be killed in that area before anything would happen. That's what it boiled down to."
The agency says the bridge is expected to be replaced in the future and the community would be kept informed.
A new bridge could include a shared path for walking and cycling, at which point the footbridge would probably be removed.
Walk Tairua say they plan to continue seeking assistance from TCDC to ensure there would be a footpath linking the pedestrian bridge and town to complete the safe loop for walkers and cyclists.