Transport bosses have agreed to shift a proposed Waipapa roundabout following feedback about the effects on nearby businesses.
After decades of lobbying by councillors and residents, the New Zealand Transport Authority revealed plans earlier this year for a roundabout at the notorious five-way junction of Waipapa Rd and State Highway 10.
During an open day at the Waipapa Hall in June, NZTA officials found strong support for a roundabout - and concerns from business owners about the effects on trade during construction, and access to their premises for delivery trucks once it was complete.
NZTA system design manager Brett Gliddon said the agency and the Far North District Council had taken the community feedback on board by shifting the roundabout slightly to the east.
That would reduce the impact on Skippers Lane, a service lane parallel to SH10, ensuring businesses retained access for customers and deliveries.
It also removed the need for a left-hand slipway from Waipapa Loop Rd onto SH10, reducing the impact on property (such as the Price Cutter dairy) and improving pedestrian access, while still allowing trucks to turn left easily onto SH10.
The amended design would be confirmed when the business case was finalised towards the end of the year.
Waipapa Business Association representative Mandy Turner said under the initial design, trucks making deliveries to the liquor store, Recreational Services and other businesses would be unable to get back onto SH10 from Skippers Lane.
She had yet to see the amended design and was surprised neither the NZTA nor the council had contacted the association about it.
There was no doubt, however, about the need for a roundabout.
"It needs to be done, and sooner rather than later," she said.
The design tweak won't go far enough for those who wanted the entire roundabout shifted onto a paddock east of the current intersection.
In June councillor Dave Hookway, on behalf of Waipapa constituents, called for "urgent reconsideration" of the roundabout's location, saying construction would have a serious impact on at least five businesses, possibly forcing them to close.
Building the roundabout on the paddock would allow businesses to operate as normal during construction and allow better traffic flow and parking, he said.
It is thought NZTA rejected that option because of the higher cost, which included buying extra land.