For cyclists, the hundreds of people who work in with Hohepa every day, and motorists in general, a major revamp of the State Highway 51 landscape just north of Clive will be good news.
The northbound passing lane, which begins just out of Clive and runs to within just a few hundred metres of the narrowing access to the Ngaruroro River bridge, is set to get the chop as it had made that stretch of highway increasingly unsafe.
And a new cycle lane, which will complete the link from Napier through to Clive, has got the green light.
The Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency had been monitoring the stretch as well as liaising with the local community and it had become evident there was a clear safety issue.
Between 2014 and 2018 there were six injury crashes, including one fatal and two serious injuries, along the highway between Hellyers Lane and Tutaekuri River bridge — marking it as a "high risk" area.
Police reports of the area show that driving behaviours that contribute to an unsafe environment include speeding, unsafe passing, undertaking and crossing the centre line.
Road Policing Manager Inspector Matt Broderick said they were regularly called out to the area because of poor driver behaviour and decision making.
"We get multiple calls about tail-gating and bad overtaking and the design of the road creates that environment."
Changing the layout of the road to single lanes in both directions and a cycle lane would help create a safer environment for all road users, he said.
"Presently there is too much going on — two lanes merging into one and at the approach to the bridge," Broderick said.
"With the new Whakatu Arterial Route taking a lot of the heavy vehicles towards the Hawke's Bay Expressway, the passing lane no longer serves its original purpose," NZTA transport systems manager Oliver Postings said.
"By removing the entire passing lane, access to Hohepa can be made safer and improvements can be made to the cycleway connection between Clive and Napier," he said.
The new layout will also improve safer access to Waitangi Regional Park as well as Hohepa.
"This is great news for the Clive community and local cyclists."
There will be a barrier between the cycle lane and the roadway.
The project is scheduled to begin later this month and is expected to take three to four months, with speed restrictions and traffic management systems in place.
The Hawke's Bay Regional Council is also supportive of the plans which will create improved access to Waitangi Regional Park and the cycle path connection.
The council's Cycle Network Co-ordinator Vicki Butterworth said the NZTA's improvements to access the park would help grow walking and cycling numbers.
"The improvements will make a safer and easier option for cycle commuters, helping encourage more people to try commuting by bike," she said.
"This helps reduce vehicle congestion and carbon emissions, and helps our community stay fit, happy and healthy."
For the staff and residents of Hohepa Homes the announcement of the project was the best possible news they could have got.
Hōhepa office manager Jane Parslow said Hohepa was a community of vulnerable people and making the area safer was hugely important for them.
"The current accessway is precarious for many people who turn right into Hōhepa, as excessive speeds at the end of the passing lane are difficult to navigate and dangerous," she said.
With residents located off site there was additional pressure on the accessway.
"Each working day of the week during peak hours we bring in the people we support with high needs to the Clive site to work and enjoy day activities."