Decades of fighting for speed limit reductions on two "dangerous" highways has ended in success for two rural Rotorua communities.
Residents from Okere Falls and the Waikite Valley had been pushing for changes to speed limits on both State Highways 5 and 33 after years of serious crashes.
Now the NZ Transport Agency has announced both roads will see reductions in the next month.
State Highway 5 in Waiotapu was set to see a drop from 100km/h to 80km/h, whereas State Highway 33 at Okere Falls was going from 100km/h and 70km/ to 60km/h.
Since 2009, there have been 120 crashes on State Highway 33 between Tikitere and Okere Falls. Twenty-six were serious and three were fatal.
On State Highway 5, there had been 22 crashes with five people seriously injured.
Russell Berry has owned the Benny Bee Arataki Honey and Gull Waiotapu on State Highway 5 for 57 years.
Berry has lived metres away from his business the entire time and raised his children in the area. He remembers when he would see only 10 cars drive the highway over the course of one day.
Now big trucks, campervans and loads of cars use the road to get from Rotorua to Taupō and beyond every day.
Berry said he had seen at least one serious crash, if not more, per year.
Speed limit reduction announced for dangerous stretch of road
Whakarewarewa School students set to get a road safety boost
Great scoot: Lime e-scooter trial planned for Rotorua
"We have been pushing for more than 20 years to see the speed limit change ... it really is great news."
"Someone was going to die."
• 55 years of fear: Why a Rotorua woman can finally sleep peacefully at night
• Bay of Plenty district road toll climbs to 19, with three fatal crashes in 28 days
• Two injured in State Highway 30 crash near Rotorua
When the 'Rotorua Daily Post' called Berry at 10am, there was still a thick fog blanketing the highway.
"It is an extremely dangerous road. It gets foggy, icy and combined with the speed, some people don't stand a chance."
Tourist numbers were huge in the area as the highway had exits that led to Waikite Valley Hot Pools, Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland and various other geothermal attractions.
He employed about 60 staff in his businesses and worried for them and his customers every time they pulled out on to the road.
Berry said he had hoped the speed limit would have been dropped to 60km/h, but they could not complain.
Sandy Nicholls had worked and lived at the Waiotapu Tavern for more than five years and echoed that the speed limit change was not enough.
She said the fear of hearing the big trucks on their horns and the well-known crash sound kept her awake at night.
"It sounds like it's coming through the walls."
She had seen more near-misses than she could count and her fair share of bad crashes on the highway.
A NZ Transport Agency spokeswoman said they had carried out a technical assessment on the road and found the safest and most appropriate speed was 80km/h.
Across town and the Okere Falls community was feeling a huge sense of relief.
Rotorua Rafting owner Sam Sutton said part of his business was walking customers across the road to get to the water and this had always been the "most dangerous part of the whole rafting trip".
"We've been rallying for a speed limit change for over a decade as hundreds of cars use that road every day.
"Most people actually speed up in the area to get up momentum for the hill."
Okere Falls Store accounts manager Steph Davies said they had seen a number of crashes around their store so the change would be "really good".
She said it was particularly bad in the winter months when people would "spin out" on the road.
Rotorua Rural Community Board chairwoman and long-time Waikite Valley resident Shirley Trumper said she was "ecstatic" as they had been pushing for the changes for a "long, long time".
"It will make a huge difference," she said.
Trumper has lived 4km from the State Highway 5 highway for more than 40 years and has been petitioning for a speed limit reduction for about five years.
She said she would also like to see additional signage, a flashing sign saying "slow down" and clearer exits for the road.