The NZ Transport Agency is making changes to Hewletts Road to boost public transport use, improve safety and help to ease traffic congestion on the busy State Highway 2 route.
A new bus lane is to be installed near the Tauranga Marina for buses travelling towards Mount Maunganui and the bus lanes near the Port of Tauranga will be extended. An extra right turn bay is also to be added for vehicles exiting Jean Batten Drive to help traffic flow and reduce the time vehicles wait at the traffic lights.
Work on the changes is due to start in June and is expected to be finished in August 2017.
These initiatives are part of a wider programme of work the Transport Agency is undertaking with Tauranga City Council and Bay of Plenty Regional Council. Together we are investigating how to effectively move people and freight in and around Tauranga as the city continues to grow.
The Transport Agency’s Bay of Plenty Highways Manager, Niclas Johansson, says the changes to the lanes will help to make buses a more attractive transport choice.
“More than 180 bus trips are made on Hewletts Road every day. The additional bus lane and upgrades to existing bus lanes will allow buses to move through the traffic, reducing delays for people who use public transport.
“Bus travel times also need to be more reliable and bus lanes like these help to achieve that,” Mr Johansson says.
Cyclists will also be able to ride in the bus lanes, use the off road path between Totara Street and Dive Crescent or travel along Totara Street south (behind the Ballance Agri-Nutrients site) if they are travelling toward Tauranga.
“The bus lanes have been made more than four metres wide to allow buses and people on bikes or motorcycles to share with care.
”These changes are a start but people can help by planning ahead to avoid spending their time in traffic. See what other options are out there. Walk, bike, carpool, or take public transport, plan ahead and if possible, start work later or earlier and avoid the delays,” Mr Johansson says.
The Transport Agency is also looking at introducing initiatives such as High Occupancy Vehicle or T3 lanes, which allow vehicles with three or more people to use bus lanes. This will benefit those drivers who plan ahead and carpool.
Information for road users