Tarewa Rd residents who live near the intersection with State Highway 1 in Whangārei have offered mixed reactions to a proposal to permanently ban the right turn out of their road.
Major upgrades are under way at the intersection which will see traffic lights installed, the highway and bridge widened to have two lanes in both directions and a path under the new bridge and signalised pedestrian crossings installed.
Due to the roadworks, traffic is currently unable to turn right into or out of Tarewa Rd.
NZ Transport Agency is proposing a bylaw amendment which will permanently ban traffic from turning right from Tarewa Rd into State Highway 1.
It is seeking submissions on the proposal.
The agency said removing right turns on to the state highway (Otaika Rd) from Tarewa Rd will improve efficiency and safety for all road users including pedestrians and cyclists at the intersection.
Resident Veronica Thompson did not think it was a good idea.
"If you have to go right, you have to go left first."
Since the roadworks have been stopping traffic from turning right, she said she has been doing a u-turn at the iSite.
"It has been a big difference since it's been in, it's been quite annoying."
She said she turns right to go to Hora Hora School and the hospital as well as to travel further up the highway to Kamo and Tikipunga to visit family and friends.
Fellow resident Dean Smith said he thought the intersection had been "dangerous" in the past and he had seen "heaps" of crashes.
He said he was not too fussed about having to drive around if the right turn was banned.
Anthony Dunn thought banning the right hand turn was a good idea.
He said in the past, people waiting to turn right have caused traffic congestion on Tarewa Rd, and with the traffic lights installed, allowing right turns would cause congestion on the highway.
Dunn said he had sat waiting for 10 minutes to turn right out of Tarewa Rd, while it would take him four minutes to go around via Maunu Rd.
"Sometimes going around is the fastest route."
NZTA acting senior project delivery manager Karen Boyt said about 300 letters were delivered to houses along Tarewa Rd, Matipo Rd and the state highway between the iSite and the SH1/SH14 intersection about the proposal.
Vince Cocurullo, who is also a district councillor, was among those as he lives on Otaika Rd.
He is opposed to the plan and said because of the traffic lights, he felt there was no need to ban the right turn.
Cocurullo said allowing the right turn with the lights would provide residents along Otaika Rd north of the intersection with gaps in the traffic to exit and enter their properties more easily and safely.
The proposal was also published in a public notice, on the NZTA website and Whangārei District Council advertised it through its media and social media channels.
Boyt said the current focus of the project is on utilities relocation and undergrounding.
"Residents' fencing and property reinstatement is well under way and ongoing. Half of the complete bridge construction is well under way and will be ready for vehicles by mid-year, allowing the contractor to begin demolition of the existing bridge and begin construction on the other half."
The intersection improvements are planned to be completed in mid 2020.
Submissions on the proposal close at 5pm on April 26 and can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org