The latest fatal crash on a notorious stretch of State Highway 2 between Tauranga and Katikati has sparked renewed calls for urgent safety improvements.
Daniel William Thompson, 27, from Katikati, is the latest victim of a fatal crash which happened on Saturday night on one of the first Apata Curves near Turners Rd.
The cause of the crash is still being investigated by the police Serious Crash Unit.
Jacqui Knight, from Katch Katikati, said there was overwhelming evidence the stretch of highway needed urgent safety improvements.
"In light of the latest death over the weekend the stretch of highway from Katikati to Tauranga clearly needs serious attention," she said.
"This is not only a state highway but it's a regional road used by thousands of local residents and it definitely needs money spent on it to make it far safer to use."
Apata Station Rd resident Brian Williams said apart for some widening measures and a possible speed reduction, any extra money should be on spent on more driver education and greater enforcement of the road rules.
Williams said the huge growth of traffic using this stretch of road often meant driver frustration and speed became significant factors behind many serious crashes.
"I don't think you can blame the road. You have to ask yourself whether it's a problem with the road or it's a driver problem. I think it's the latter," he said.
Lesley Park, who regularly drives between Mount Maunganui and Auckland, in an email sent to the Bay of Plenty Times yesterday, agreed.
"I am gobsmacked at the stupid things people do, including passing just before a corner, tailgating, speeding, and using their cellphones, and so on.
"I'm tired of people blaming everything and everyone else when it's the drivers who need to drive to the conditions," she said.
Bay of Plenty MP Todd Muller and his Coromandel counterpart have launched a petition calling for the Katikati to Tauranga stretch of highway to receive a four-lane upgrade.
Muller earlier said it was critical to ease traffic flows and improve safety.
Western Bay of Plenty District Council Mayor Garry Webber has added his voice to the campaign saying it should have higher priority than any other road given its status.
But Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern recently told Newstalk ZB that "neglected regional roads" were more worthy of funding.
She said Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter would meet local mayors to discuss which regional roads would be prioritised.
The Bay of Plenty Times sought clarification from Ms Ardern about her statement and her office referred the newspaper to Transport Minister Phil Twyford.
In a written statement, Twyford said: "I completely understand the safety concerns Bay of Plenty residents have about this stretch of road."
The Transport Agency independently made all operational decisions around which roading projects were prioritised and the timing of the work it carried out, he said.
"The ongoing assessment of safety improvements for this road will continue as it did before the election."
SH2 between Tauranga and Katikati:
There were 18 deaths, 35 serious injuries, 95 minor injury crashes from 2012 to 2016.
That is the highest death toll of state highways listed by the NZ Transport Agency as the country's most dangerous.