Western Bay of Plenty police are pleading with people not to put their lives at risk by crossing a notorious stretch of highway after a man died near 15th Ave yesterday. The man was hit by a truck on Takitimu Drive while crossing the road at 4.40am.
Police say the man was walking towards the Cameron Rd side when he was hit.
Takitimu Drive was blocked from Elizabeth St to westbound traffic after the death. The road reopened at 10.45am. The Serious Crash Unit is investigating.
Business owners in the area say people sometimes cross the road as a shortcut to the nearby industrial area in Judea.
After a similar death in 2015, some people in the area asked for pedestrian access from the end of Koromiko St to the bottom of 16th Ave or 17th Ave.
Police also raised concerns with Tauranga City Council about the stretch of road in 2014.
John Ward of Paramount Stainless on Koromiko St said people crossed the road to save time.
"It's too dangerous. Vehicles are coming from one direction, but they're coming quickly," he said.
Ward, who has worked in the area since 1982, said he understood why pedestrian access had failed to get traction.
"It cost too much, and we understood that," he said.
"If it was there probably more people would use it. A lot of people work in the area."
Tauranga Diesel Specialists workshop supervisor Graham Hayes said he had only seen a few people dashing across the road to get to work.
"They use it as a shortcut," he said. "Maybe there is a need for something safer."
Acting head of road policing Sergeant Wayne Hunter said pedestrians were risking their lives by crossing the road.
He did not support a pedestrian crossing and said the expressway was an unsafe place to cross.
The truck driver had been offered help by Victim Support.
New Zealand Transport Agency Bay of Plenty transport system manager Rob Campbell said the agency would review the fatality.
"Once the New Zealand Police have completed their on-scene investigation, we will be looking closely at the road and roadside environment at the site of the crash," he said.
"Previous reviews have not highlighted a significant problem and that existing infrastructure provides access choices for users."