Access to Welcome Bay Lane will be restricted temporarily while more permanent, safer measures are put in place for all road users.
The cycling safety review, commissioned by the NZ Transport Agency and Tauranga City Council, has found that people are continuing to travel at speed despite the installation of the interim safety measures at the intersection of the cycle lane and Welcome Bay Road.
This puts themselves and others at risk of a crash that could seriously injure or kill someone, says the NZTA.
The review is currently still in draft but given the current risk to the public the access to Welcome Bay Lane will be closed to through-traffic from Saturday 29 September.
People won’t be able to access Welcome Bay Lane from the Welcome Bay Road end.
NZ Transport Agency project manager John McCarthy says this change is necessary to reduce the risk to cyclists and other road users.
“We recognise this temporary restriction will be an inconvenience and apologise in advance for the disruption, however safety is our first priority and we all need to share the road safely. We will restore access as soon as a safe alternative for cyclists can be constructed.
“The design of the intersection meets the current engineering code for residential roads, however, we are looking into a number of additional measures to improve cyclist safety.”
The suggested improvements include:
*A new shared path along Welcome Bay Road and crossing point at Awanui Place
*Installing diagonal crossing at the Hammond Street traffic lights
*Remove the cycle lane which crosses Welcome Bay Lane
*Build a new shared path on Welcome Bay Lane towards Hairini roundabout.
*The final design, timing and cost of these initiatives are still being confirmed. The Transport Agency and Tauranga City Council will keep the community updated and will also seek feedback from cycle advocacy groups on the suggested solutions.
“Transport is changing and people should be able to safely use whatever mode of transport they prefer,” says John.
“We expect these changes will help to make cycling more attractive through the Welcome Bay area, which will in turn have a positive impact on everyone’s travel times.”
The changes are currently expected to be made within the estimated total Maungatapu underpass project cost of $45 million.
Tauranga City Council will be consulting with the public on the speed limits through the area to formalise the speed limit for Welcome Bay Link Road through the Maungatapu underpass.
Speed limits are reviewed to make sure they’re right for the road.
A map showing where suggested cycle improvements may occur. The final design, timing and cost of these initiatives are still being confirmed.