A notorious stretch of road north of Rotorua which has claimed two lives in the past three months will get improvements.

Two areas of State Highway 5 have been identified by the NZ Transport Agency as "needing improvement".

Bay of Plenty transport system manager Rob Campbell said the agency had met with the community who lived on and used the area around the intersections of Maraeroa Rd and Oturoa Rd.

On Christmas Eve last year 23-year-old student Jie Hu, known as Sunny, was on her way home for Christmas when she died in a three-car collision near the intersection of Maraeroa Rd.

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Jie Hu, known as Sunny, 23, was killed in a crash on State Highway 5 on December 24, 2017. Photo/File
Jie Hu, known as Sunny, 23, was killed in a crash on State Highway 5 on December 24, 2017. Photo/File

Last Monday Hori Kaiwai, a 67-year-old former Rotorua Boys' High School teacher, was killed when his car collided with a campervan less than 2km north of the December crash site.

Hori Kaiwai, 67, was killed in a crash on State Highway 5 on March 12, 2018. Photo/File
Hori Kaiwai, 67, was killed in a crash on State Highway 5 on March 12, 2018. Photo/File

"We agree some safety improvements can be made," Campbell said.

"In the interim we will be installing signage to advise road users that they are approaching these intersections.

"We will also be looking at how right turn facilities can be provided at these intersections, along with any other appropriate safety improvements."

He said the investigation process into safety improvements had started.

Further south a stretch of SH5, between the Ngongotaha roundabout and Tarukenga Rd, about 8km, had also been identified as needing improvement.

"In the 10 years between 2006 and 2015, four people lost their lives and 10 were seriously injured on this stretch," Campbell said.

"Most of the crashes were caused by loss of control and involved people running off the road or crashing head on."

Early last year the community was asked to provide feedback on the stretch of road.

The feedback form included questions on installing roadside safety barriers, widening the shoulder and installing rumble strips.

"To prevent serious injury when these crashes occur we have already trimmed some vegetation that was causing visibility issues," Campbell said.

"We are also looking at widening the road slightly, putting in side barriers at high risk locations, a wider centre line, rumble strips and improving signage.

"We will speak to the community again about the safety improvements on this section of road later this year."

Sunny's host mum Sue Gunn said any improvements to the intersection had to be good for everybody.

She hoped in the future no one would have to go through what her family went through on Christmas Eve.

"There have been several accidents and so it has clearly now been identified as an unsafe area."

The coroner was yet to release his findings into her death, but Gunn said it would be interesting to see his recommendations.

Bob Martin from community group Progress Ngongotaha said the intersections of Maraeroa Rd and Oturoa Rd had been "shockers for years".

"Safety work there is long overdue, we need to see turning lanes, and I will be pretty pleased if the NZTA do something about it.

"One of the main problems they have is there's a pull off there where trucks used to be weighed and that can confuse a lot of people, especially in the winter when it's foggy."

He said conversations with the NZTA about the area from the Ngongotaha roundabout to Tarukenga began in 2016.

"I wouldn't say the stretch of road is dangerous, just that the roundabout is an absolute curse.

"As a group we've been trying to get something done about it for the best part of 10 years.

"You have people coming over the top of that hill at 100km/h and suddenly you've got queues, it's an absolute disaster."

Martin said the people of Ngongotaha were sick and tired of the crashes and their patience had now run out.