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Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

The intersection of State Highway 30 and State Highway 33 – Te Ngae Junction (Whakatāne turnoff) is significantly safer with the completion of a new roundabout and other safety improvements.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Regional Manager Infrastructure Delivery, Jo Wilton, says it has been a complex and important construction programme at the intersection, and she thanks road users for their support during the project.

“This work is so important because it improves safety at this high-risk intersection, and it’s a key link between Rotorua, Tauranga and the eastern Bay of Plenty,” she says.

“An incredible effort has been put in by the crews to complete the roundabout in just 2 months – 5 weeks earlier than planned.

“Because of the nearby stream, width of the road, and with no local detours available, road users faced both manual stop/go traffic management and automated traffic lights at the intersection from late May to mid-July and we thank them for their patience.”

Even though construction was completed in July, the final surfacing and road-marking was scheduled for the warmer weather to ensure a quality result.

“We listened to the community and Ngāti Rangiteaorere, who raised concerns about people’s safety.

“We heard people say traffic was going too fast and turning was difficult at SH30/SH33 and Rangiteaorere Road intersections, so we are absolutely thrilled to have worked together and addressed these issues.”

Dr Kenneth Cameron Kennedy Co Chair Ngāti Rangiteaorere Iwi Authority says since the completion of the SH30/33 Te Ngae Junction roundabout, Ngāti Rangiteaorere has noticed a huge reduction of speed approaching the roundabout from Tauranga or from Rotorua.

“This has improved the road safety in our community immensely. This includes for safety purposes the upgrade of lanes on Rangiteaorere Road, where vehicles approaching the main SH30, can safely turn left and use the new roundabout nearby to then continue on towards Rotorua,” he says. 

“I was most satisfied working with the Waka Kotahi project teams from start to finish because Waka Kotahi recognised this project is within the tribal traditional boundaries of Ngāti Rangiteaorere, and both parties work together, with Ngāti Rangiteaorere being responsible for everything cultural pertaining to the project and Waka Kotahi responsible for the upgrade of the roundabout.

“By working in harmony together, everything was completed with the satisfaction of both parties,” Dr Kennedy says.

The new single-lane roundabout reduces the risk and severity of head-on and side impact crashes if they do occur and makes it safer for vehicles to turn.

A new right turn bay at the SH30/Rangiteaorere Road intersection makes it safer for people to get to Mātaikōtare and people leaving Mātaikōtare can use the roundabout to safely travel south.

Rangiteaorere Road can now also be used as a bypass for people on bikes heading north, safely separated from vehicles at the roundabout.

Roadside safety barriers have been upgraded protecting people from roadside hazards including the Waiohewa Stream. A retaining wall supported the roundabout construction to the west of the intersection and reduced impacts on nearby properties.

Other work along this corridor includes the safety improvements on SH33 Te Ngae Junction to Paengaroa and road rehabilitation and maintenance underway on both SH30 between Te Ngae Junction and Whakatāne, and on SH33 between Mourea and Paengaroa.

Ngāti Rangiteaorere Koromatua Council, Waka Kotahi, Beca, Downer and MS Civil project team representatives attended a blessing at the new roundabout on SH30/33 to acknowledge completion of the project.