Tauranga City Council will commence with the construction of Stage 1 improvements on 15th Avenue, starting from Monday July 22.
“15th Avenue is the main link between the city and Welcome Bay, Maungatapu, Hairini, and Ohauiti,” says acting manager of transportation at Tauranga City Council, Phil Consedine.
“Morning and evening peak times are busy on this road with the side roads and intersections causing the biggest disruption to travel times.
“With the Stage 1 works, we aim to reduce travel time in the evening peak by adding a new traffic lane between Fraser Street and Mayfair Street. Additionally, the works will result in a safer path for people on foot and bikes to get along the 15th Avenue network,” says Phil.
Stage 1 is expected to be completed early 2020.
The key elements of the Stage 1 improvements are:
One new southeast bound traffic lane – between Fraser Street and Mayfair Street, to give the 15th Ave/Fraser Street intersection a better chance to clear in the afternoons.
One new northwest bound lane – between Mayfair Street and Scantlebury Street - for T3 and bus use.
Installation of traffic lights at the Burrows Street/15th Ave intersection – to manage interruptions from the side roads and to allow for safe crossing of the road.
Closure of the exit from Grace Road onto 15th Ave on the northern side of 15th Ave and Grace Road. This will prevent traffic from merging into 15th Ave and disrupting the flow of traffic. The southern side of 15th Ave and Grace Road remains the same.
Closure of the Turret Road slip lane – to give people driving on the main road a clear run onto the causeway.
Introduction of a shared pathway that links to the Mayfair Street shared path so more people can bike safely between the outer suburbs and the city.
15th Ave will stay open during the works but delays are envisaged during the project.
Additionally residents and businesses in the area may encounter some disruption.
Tauranga City Council strives to minimise any disruption and thanks everyone for their understanding while the work is being undertaken.
“We encourage users to continue using 15th Ave during construction, to minimise disruption to the surrounding network. By using 15th Ave, it also enables a continual flow of traffic along this road,” says Phil.
Currently NZTA has not provided funding for construction of the Stage 1 works for 15th Ave during the 2018-21 National Land Transport Programme. To bridge the gap in the meantime, Tauranga City Council has agreed to finance this project through a rates-funded loan so that it can go ahead.
“15th Ave is one of Tauranga’s top five most congested roads, so we need to step in and get this work underway,” says Phil.
The longer-term plans, identified as Stage 2 are scheduled after the NZ Transport Agency’s Baypark to Bayfair Link project is completed. These works are yet to be confirmed, but may involve:
Traffic lights at the 13th Ave/Fraser Street and 17th Ave/Fraser Street intersections. The improvements to these intersections will occur as a first step on Stage 2. Traffic modelling work is currently being undertaken to determine how the traffic lights will operate and their impact on the wider road network in this area.
Car pooling and bus lanes – to help make bus trips more reliable between the city and Welcome Bay, Maungatapu, Hairini, and Ohauiti.
Separated shared pathways – to offer a safe bike journey into the city.