Online road rage over Te Puna

There's nothing like roadworks to graunch the gears of motorists.

“This project has been a shambles from its inception,” said one punter on the SunLive website.

“While you might be happy sitting in your car for two hours with a flask of coffee, some of us have hospital appointments, children to drop off and work to do.”

It was retaliatory barrage after an online head-on crash with another subscriber.  “Remember what the delay is for,” said punter number two. “Small term pain for long term gain.”

What punter number two wants us to embrace are the roadworks at Te Puna – $7 million worth of double lane roundabout to “create a more forgiving road environment and reduce crashes” on the notorious stretch of road that is State Highway 2 between Bethlehem and Waihi.

And caught in the middle of the verbal stoush is the New Zealand Transport Agency. It is taking a conciliatory approach.

“We can understand the frustration the work is causing,” says the NZTA's Bay of Plenty state highways manager Niclas Johansson. “We are taking a fresh look at the way the construction is being carried out and the impact it's having on people.” In the meantime it's asking motorists to be respectful to the contractors.

But punter number one won't be placated. “Any more of this nonsense and Downers (the project construction company) will see what real anger and frustration is.”

“There will always be delays working on a state highway,” fired back punter number two. And he offered some advice to punter number one. “Get out of bed earlier in the morning, pack a cup of coffee and embrace the fact we have major roading developments in our area. These aren't meaningless, they will ultimately make your trip faster and safer.”

And he reminds everyone about the Tauranga Eastern Link project. “The people who grizzled are now singing its praises.” Punter number one won't have a bar of it.

“You must either be one of the workers sitting on the verge having a smoke, a planner with Downers or an ostrich living in the Minden. Get real!”

This verbal road rage is symptomatic of the social media traffic on the Te Puna construction. There has been a stream of messages both in support and critical of Downers and the NZTA. But most have been critical.

“Stupid place for a roundabout.”

“Why aren't they doing the work at night when the traffic is quieter?

“I spent five years in Brisbane and saw changes and improvements achieved in short times frames.” Be good to know who these bureau bunglers are who make these decisions” and “Te Puna is just going to be another bottleneck, the roundabout should never have been approved”.

But it was approved. And while it asks motorist to be respectful to Downers, the NZTA says to continue to expect delays.

“We have asked for Te Puna Station Road to be closed in the morning peak period on work days. Closing this road improves the consistent flow of traffic along SH2 and prevents stop start effect that occurs when traffic merges left or turns right into Te Puna Station Rd.” 

The intersection is considered high risk and the roundabout will dramatically improve safety at Te Puna and Minden.  

NZTA says construction of the Tauranga Northern Link from the Takitimu Drive Toll Rd to just past Te Puna, will also start in 2018. It'll remove state highway traffic from Te Puna and Bethlehem allowing easier travel through these areas.

And a recent detour, which may have prompted the outcry from disgruntled motorists was a trial to allow the contractor, Downer, to work uninterrupted by traffic. 

The detour was monitored and when it caused significant delays it was removed.

It's now on hold while the NZTA reviews why the delays occurred and how it can improve the detour plan. And it has apologised for the frustration the detour has caused.    



Te Puna Station Road

Posted on 02-05-2017 12:59 | By Aongatete

The real issue is not the residents that live between SH2 and Te Puna and use Station Road. It is the inconsiderate selfish drivers who leave SH2 at Snodgrass and drive around the rat-run and re-enter at Wairoa River. Long may Station Road be kept closed!!


Posted on 02-05-2017 07:34 | By Feruno

I hope there is going to be an educational period on the purpose of a roundabout, and how roundabouts should be used . Can anyone answer this ? ( I know the answer )

Typical NZ Bureaucrats.

Posted on 02-05-2017 05:54 | By TheCameltoeKid

For these people to say this project was a good idea is beyond a joke! 2 years of traffic jams has been the only thing achieved. And to act now on the problem at TePuna Station road is just incompetence. AS for the contractor dragging the chain, well, the only guy that seems to be doing any work is the guy that walks the entire length of the site adjusting bloody ROADCONES! There's far to many people in positions of power in this country that need to be kicked to the kerb!

Heads need to roll at NZTA!

Posted on 02-05-2017 05:44 | By TheCameltoeKid

Whoever thought it was a good idea at NZTA to put a roundabout at TePuna surely has to be FIRED! With the new road starting in (another joke) about a year to spent this crazy amount of money on a roundabout is just mindboggleing. How on God's Earth did this project get priority over the Omokoroa intersection? I cannot for the life of me see how NZTA didn't see this mess occurring because I saw it happening the moment it was announced. This road will revert to a quiet country road when the new road is built so it's just a total WASTE of taxpayers money. I heard this clown from NZTA say to allow an extra 10 to 15 minutes to your journey. I wounder what colour the sky is on his planet? Try almost 2 hours to get from the Mount to Omokoroa! And this isn't uncommon.

Mr Te Puna Stn Rd...

Posted on 01-05-2017 21:33 | By FriendlyLocal

I totally agree and will do whatever we have to to make it happen. Enforsabley close Te Puna Stn Rd 7am -9:30am Keep the flow going...

Delays will stay

Posted on 01-05-2017 19:34 | By namxa

Even after the magic roundabout is done. And the Tauriko/Te Puna bypass? Well, I'm thinking they'll prolly put ANOTHER magic roundabout at the start of that too. Magic because they magically slow ALL the traffic. Yippee.


Posted on 01-05-2017 19:21 | By Capt_Kaveman

such a major intersection this should be made into an interchange and Temunga alike but NZTA dont know what they are

Road works blues

Posted on 01-05-2017 16:58 | By sobeit

It's an Anzac thing taking ages to do roadworks. Brisbane Bruce Hiway ....been ongoing for years. M1 to Gold Coast & bridges took forever. There they only work at night. Here they only work in daytime . China they work 24 / 7 and ,surprise, they get it done's cheaper to shift the cost of works to motorists via the delays hence NZTA budgets for 8hrs a day over 5 days g


Posted on 01-05-2017 13:14 | By Roadkill

Obviously because there is a lot of traffic on the road, that NZTA have been as usual slow to upgrade the road, usually meaning to await a few more deaths before deciding to do something? The end result here is that the significant amount of development in Bethlehem and north creates a huge amount of traffic revolving around work/school start/finish times, this has been an issue for years. All that is actually happening is a little roundabout being constructed in the middle of the traffic chaos. The work to be done is obviously tipping the balance with respect to traffic flows then with obvious results, hours of wasted time/delays ... a compounding situation. Perhaps the answer was that the Toll road bypass of Bethlehem etc should have been built first, then there is an alternate road, wow bet never thought of that???


Posted on 01-05-2017 09:38 | By thebrad

Hi moved here 8 years ago from Canada, i truley think that Kiwis do not know how to build roads, they are just not good at it. on top of that it seems to take 5 years to complete a project, welcome bay tunnel....were are the workers, and how come the bayfair fly over hasnt started yet. Whats going on.


Posted on 01-05-2017 09:37 | By FriendlyLocal

People tend to forget how bad the traffic had become there even before construction started.. that problem is now being resolved. Good on you NZTA and Downer. Get your arse out of bed earlier if you dont want to be late!

Te Puna Station Rd..

Posted on 01-05-2017 09:06 | By mutley

should have been closed off some years ago. We have been living with the "stop start effect" for ages and yet only now does it occur to NZTA to take some action. Will Te Puna Station Rd be reopened once the new roundabout is finished so we can again suffer the "stop start" ? I hope not.

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