More than 1000 locals have already signed a newly launched petition pushing the NZ Transport Agency to start four-laning on Te Ngae Rd and to build a safer roundabout at Ngongotahā.
National MP Todd McClay officially released the petition on Friday after a soft launch which gained 1000 signatures. He is confident this is only the beginning.
And mayor Steve Chadwick is on board saying, "it was promised by NZTA and I want it done".
McClay said National committed to upgrading Te Ngae Rd with four lanes up to the airport to help ease congestion, better connect the homes and businesses and improve the safety along the State Highway prior to the 2017 election.
Despite not making it into Government, McClay said the time had come for investment into Te Ngae Rd.
"It would future proof this part of town, it would make it safe and it would allow Rotorua to continue to grow with good infrastructure."
He said more often than not traffic was building up to the airport resulting in people taking short cuts through Ōwhata and Lynmore at a time when children were walking to school.
An upgrade of the Ngongotahā roundabout was also critical to ease growing congestion through the Ngongotahā village, McClay said.
"Rotorua is growing and we deserve good infrastructure. Local motorists are paying their fair share of tax but we are just not seeing the investment in our roads."
He said the Government had cut $5 billion from State Highway funding with no commitment to upgrade local roads but he wanted those in power to see this was important to locals.
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In response to McClay's claim, Rotorua-based New Zealand First MP Fletcher Tabuteau said the Government was investing $600 million more into the "neglected" regional roads than the previous government.
"We're actually spending more on roads than the former government, which invested 40 per cent of the transport budget on a few handpicked motorways that only carry 4 per cent of vehicle journeys while starving the rest of the transport network.
"We're taking a balanced approach to transport in our regions after nine years of neglect."
One of the 1000 signatures on the petition was Barry Purcell from Ngongotahā who has commuted into the city for 20 years.
He said traffic numbers had increased dramatically from all directions and it made a venture into town "a nightmare".
"When you're coming from the city to Mamaku there is a slip lane on the roundabout that gives you a free pass. That is the sort of thing which needs to happen from Ngongotahā."
Dennis Walsh has owned and lived at the Regency Park Retirement Village near Te Ngae Rd for 24 years and signed the petition as he felt Te Ngae Rd was one of the most dangerous roads in Rotorua.
"I guess we have to wait for a few more people to be killed on Te Ngae Rd and then New Zealand Transport Agency will do something."
He hoped the petition would avoid that from happening.
NZTA has confirmed there are no current plans for upgrades on Te Ngae Rd but did not respond to further questions by deadline.
In March this year, the Rotorua Daily Post reported after an Operation and Monitoring Committee meeting NZTA was considering speeding up installation of a roundabout at Rotorua Airport.
A detailed business case for expanding Te Ngae Rd to four lanes between Iles Rd and the airport was also being prepared.
Prior to that, the proposed four-laning out to Rotorua Airport was up in the air, with the project ranked 12th out of 35 priority projects in the Regional Land Transport Plan 2018 after the Government released its Draft Government Policy Statement (GPS) 2018 on land transport in April 2018.
NZTA director regional relationships Parekawhia McLean told the Rotorua Daily Post at the time the agency was developing a new draft state highway investment proposal based on the guidance of the draft GPS.
Chadwick has supported and campaigned for four-laning along Te Ngae Rd in the past and said she was still "fully supportive" now.
"I have been working very hard to convince the new Government this is the option for Te Ngae Rd investment."
A roundabout at the airport was something else Chadwick would like to see and she confirmed she would campaign for it if re-elected.
However, the timing of the project ultimately lay with NZTA, Chadwick said.
"It is moving but it is moving slowly because it doesn't meet this Government's priorities for safety. But I think it is a safety issue."
To learn more about the petition go to Todd McClay's website.