A six-week detour caused by major roadworks on two state highways is expected to cause further delays, but residents say the disruptions are inconvenient but necessary.
Construction of a new roundabout at the intersection of State Highways 5 and 36 in Ngongotahā began in September last year and has caused congestion on the way in and out of Rotorua.
Commuters told Rotorua Daily Post in March getting to school and work in the mornings was like playing a game of Russian roulette.
Now, there are even more traffic delays on the horizon.
From Monday drivers travelling north towards Ngongotahā from Rotorua will have to detour on to SH5 and then Western Rd, to make their way home.
The detour will remain in place for up to six weeks and Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency expects the detour to increase travel times by "a maximum of seven to 10 minutes".
NZTA regional manager infrastructure delivery Jo Wilton said NZTA was doing its best to minimise delays.
"People can expect traffic to be congested between 7.30am and 8.30am and again between 4.30pm and 5.30pm in the evening, Monday to Thursday," Wilton said.
"On Friday it seems to be building earlier from 3.30pm to 5.30pm."
Hamurana resident Jennifer Rothwell said the detour and delays were "a small price to pay".
"The ultimate aim is to make travel down that highway a lot easier for people who are commuting."
Progress Ngongotaha chief executive Lynn Benfell said "it is what it is".
"I'm not sure what other options there are, really."
Benfell preferred to focus on the positive aspects of the process.
"Everything has been done so well, and so tidily. It's almost meticulous.
"The lanes are marked clearly so there's no confusion about where to go."
Benfell said members of the Ngongotahā community had appreciated the prompt and open communications from NZTA.
They had been receiving regular updates on the roadworks, to allow drivers to plan for delays.
"[The updates] feel like they come from a group of people who are doing a huge job, saying they care and they want to keep us informed so we can plan around it."
Ngongotahā Early Learning Centre owner, and Western Rd resident Heather Brake said her concerns about the detour had been "addressed to the best they can be".
"My concerns were for the children's safety, and the safety of the children at the park across the road.
"I was also worried about our parents as they come out of the driveway.
"None of our teachers are parking here at the moment. We've had to find parking in the area."
Then Brake attended public information meetings about the roadworks.
"I'm told there will be a temporary fence around the park so kids can't run out onto the road," Brake said.
The speed limit on Western Rd is currently 50km/h.
Rotorua Lakes Council infrastructure group manager Stavros Michael said recent public information sessions held in Rotorua were well-received.
"The two [sessions] in Ngongotahā, in particular, were well-attended.
"Feedback conveyed to council mainly related to potential effects on the village and commuters during construction of the Ngongotahā roundabout improvements and wanting to ensure the project would align with future proposed safety improvements in the Ngongotahā Village.
"Council will continue to work closely with Waka Kotahi to ensure the community is kept up to date about key projects."
NZTA has said the new roundabout is expected to be completed in July or August, depending on weather and is currently on track.
In the meantime, NZTA is asking "people to take extra care, especially at the Ngongotaha Village end".
To help with traffic flow two temporary roundabouts will be installed and manual traffic control may be included.
Once finished the new section will include
• Median safety barriers at high-risk locations
• An extra lane in all directions around the roundabout
• A slip lane for westbound (Hamilton) traffic
• A wide centreline in areas for more space between lanes
• Updated road line markings, lighting, signage, and wider sealed shoulders