Western Bay residents are considering road blockades after being fed up with delays to upgrades for State Highway 2.
Te Puna businessman Sean Lett said more than 120 people attended an informal meeting at Top Shot Bar in Te Puna on Tuesday night.
Lett said a softer approach was the first option, including making sure as many submissions as possible were made to the Bay of Plenty Regional Land Transport Plan 2018 and writing to roading officials, including Worksafe.
However, he said getting to the "pointy end" of the ideas meant locals were prepared to make "multiple blockades" on highways around the area if necessary.
"I've seen people laying on that road [State Highway 2] screaming and bleeding. I'm sick of seeing this," Lett said.
Comments about the potential blocking of State Highway 2 and other state highways have surfaced on social media where people asked organisers to not block the road because it would affect their daily lives including getting to work.
Lett was frustrated to hear these responses.
"These are the people who need to come and help us. I own five businesses and I would be blocking my own staff from getting to work," he said.
"That is the point."
A broad range of people gave their opinions on the best way to protest, including lawyers, agricultural workers, kiwifruit orchardists, retirees and family-oriented people, Lett said.
"There was a real cross section of the community."
Protest organiser Andrew Hollis said an "overarching" plan had been laid out and steps were in place to ensure local's voices would be heard.
He agreed steps would start out "soft" from emailing officials right to "guerrilla tactics" where locals were prepared to block many highways around the area.
"We don't want to block the roads, but we will if it's the only way to be heard," he said.
Hollis said the decision was made to hold a blockade, the public would be given enough warning to make other arrangements and emergency services would be let through.
A police spokesperson said the role of police was to make sure the lawful right to protest was upheld while ensuring the safety of all involved.
"Traffic management plans for protests such as this are considered on a case-by-case basis. Police and NZ Transport Agency will liaise to maintain the safety of all road users," the spokesperson said.
A petition set up by Omokoroa resident Gillian MacColl had gathered more than 3500 signatures and would be presented to the Bay of Plenty Regional Council later this month.
It was created to urge roading officials to make the upgrades to State Highway 2 a higher priority.
"The petition is gaining a lot of traction and the community is really the ones driving it," MacColl said.
Copies of the petition were located at 17 different sites around the Western Bay for people to sign. It would close at the end of office hours on March 21.
NZ Transport Agency director of regional relationships Parekawhia McLean said the Government Policy Statement, which guided the agency on its transport investment decisions, was currently being developed by Transport Minister Phil Twyford.
"We can't pre-empt what will be in the new Government Policy Statement or give further detail about specific transport projects until the Government Policy Statement is released."