Omokoroa Community Board chairman Murray Grainger is expecting a crammed Omokoroa Settlers hall on Wednesday night, when area residents meet to discuss the crash rate on the nearby highway.
The meeting's intent is to lift the priority of the promised State Highway 2 re-build from its current lowly position on the regional council wish list.
The wish list published last week as the Bay of Plenty Regional Council's draft Regional Land Transport Plan 2018 is open for consultation, with the draft document setting out the direction the region's transport system will take over the long term.
The Waihi to Ōmokoroa Safer Corridor safety improvements on SH2 corridor between Waihī and Tauranga, and the Katikati bypass are well down the list.
With serious accidents seeming to happening near the Omokoroa intersection on a regular basis the residents and road users want the list changed.
They have started a petition which will be part of the Omokoroa community board's submission on the Draft Regional Land Transport Plan, says Murray.
“The people who dish out the money and do it are NZTA and the regional council has produced their land transport programme where they have prioritised this to number 11 and the Katikati bypass at number 15.
“When you read that document it's clear that no significant funds are going to be allocated to it for the next six years, and nobody's going to be driving on it for 10 years - and people are being killed and injured on a regular basis.”
They want the four lane expressway and the Katikati bypass both brought forward.
“There's not much point having one without the other.”
Most of the recent crashes appear to be intersection related, says Murray. People turning across traffic trying to either enter or leave the highway.
“And the beauty of a four lane expressway is it removes the local intersections puts them onto a local feeder road.”
For the Omokoroa intersection that would mean a grade separated interchange and local feeder roads.
“So if I wanted to drive from here (Omokoroa) to Plummers Point, I would not go onto the expressway, I would go onto the local feeder road - and not interact with the State Highway traffic.”
The population growth in Omokoroa is making the SH2 intersection too dangerous, says Murray.
Two people suffered serious injuries when two cars collided near the intersection of SH 2 and Omokoroa Road about 5pm on Saturday.
A 52-year-old man was airlifted to Waikato Hospital, where he remains today in HDU in a serious condition.
A 50-year-old Mount Maunganui woman was transported to Tauranga Hospital and remains in intensive care in a stable condition.
The regional council draft plan is open for consultation until 23 March 2018. To download a copy of the draft Plan or make a submission, visit www.boprc.govt.nz/landtransportplan
Funding decisions will be published by the NZTA in the National Land Transport Programme in August 2018.
23 March 2018 – Public consultation closes
11-12 April 2018 – Hearings
7 May 2018 – Deliberations
8 June 2018 – Regional Transport Committee makes a recommendation on the Plan to the Regional Council
21 June 2018 – Regional Council considers Plan for approval
30 June 2018 – Final Plan submitted to NZ Transport Agency
31 August 2018 – NZ Transport Agency releases National Land Transport Programme