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Bureta Road/Vale Street intersection safety upgrade

Bureta Road / Vale Street intersection

To make the Bureta Road/Vale Street intersection safer for everyone, we’ve designed an upgrade plan to improve safety for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers.

What is the safety risk?

A fatal pedestrian injury in 2017 and other near misses mean that safety changes are needed at this intersection. Local schools and residents have told us they want to make crossing Vale Street safer. This includes reducing traffic speeds and making the crossroads safer for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers . The commissioners have made their position clear: safety of our community is a top priority for Council. 

Preliminary design features

The features we will be progressing in the final design include additional features to factor in cyclists’ safety:

  • A roundabout at the Bureta Road/Vale Street intersection with a raised table has been designed for cyclists to approach the roundabout at a similar speed to a car.
  • Moving the existing zebra crossing from the intersection on Vale Street to a new location in front of the Countdown carpark and upgrading to a zebra crossing on a speed table. This increases safety for both cyclists and pedestrians as it is set back from the roundabout. 
  • Two new raised tables, which will slow traffic entering the intersection, making it safer for all road users including pedestrians and cyclists. These will be located at:  
    • Bureta Road, north of the intersection entrance. 
    • Vale Street, west of the intersection entrance.

Bureta Road/Vale Street preliminary design plan (696kb pdf)

Please note: this is a preliminary design. A safety audit is still to be completed and there are some final reviews (e.g. stormwater) being undertaken that may result in minor changes.

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To sign up for project updates email transport@tauranga.govt.nz


  • Public consultation via online survey

    13 September - 1 October 2021
  • Final design

    March - April 2022
  • Tender process

    May - June 2022
  • Construction - duration eight to 10 weeks

    July - September 2022

Bureta raised roundabout

Raised table zebra crossing

Bureta raised roundabout

Raised table roundabout

What will this mean for commuters?

  • Safer travel options for everyone, including pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers
  • Speed calming for drivers as they approach intersections and crossings to make it safer for pedestrians and cyclists. These improvements will have a minor impact on drivers’ overall journey time and will improve efficiency for some drivers.

Results from our survey

We had a fantastic response to our survey with 240 people telling us what they would like to see in a safety upgrade of the intersection, with more than 84% of responders in favour of the proposal. We also received some suggestions for improvements to our design plan.

Bureta Road / Vale Street Intersection survey report. (584kb pdf)

Next Steps

We have taken your feedback on board and factored it into our final design. A detailed design has recently been started and will be presented to the community in April. We will then progress the works in winter 2022.

Frequently Asked Questions

Roundabouts are an efficient intersection design that help to balance and slow traffic flow. 

The addition of a roundabout and moving the existing zebra crossing from the intersection on Vale Street to a new location in front of the Countdown carpark is the best design option to increase safety at the Bureta Road/Vale Street intersection for pedestrians, cyclists and cars. These changes will: 

  • Improve crossings and paths for pedestrians, mobility scooters, and cyclists 
  • Slow drivers approaching the pedestrian crossing and intersection
  • Improve the safety of the intersection
  • Future-proof other potential projects in the area, allowing for multi-modal travel and urban growth.

The roundabout design at the Bureta Road/Vale Street intersection has been modelled and shows good traffic flow through Vale Street and only minor delays on Bureta Road. This minor delay happens now, as Bureta Road traffic must give way to Vale Street traffic.

Roundabouts are the safest form of intersection control for people travelling in motor vehicles. Numerous studies have shown that, in general, fewer casualty crashes involving only motor vehicles occur at roundabouts than at intersections controlled by traffic signals, stop signs, or give-way signs.  Because roundabouts generally involve slow crash speeds, the forces exerted on people inside motor vehicles involved in crashes at roundabouts are generally below the thresholds at which serious injury is likely to happen.

Single-laned roundabouts

When you approach a roundabout that has only one lane in each direction:

  • Slow down as you approach the roundabout and be prepared to give way
  • Give way to all vehicles that will cross your path from your right as you enter the roundabout (including cyclists?).

Example of a one lane roundabout

More advice on how to use roundabouts is available on the Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency website.

Design factors that contribute to cyclist safety at roundabouts are:

  • Entry speed – the faster the entry speed, the less time drivers have to scan for cyclists entering the roundabout at different entry points, and the greater the severity of any crash that does occur.  Lowering entry speeds (negotiation and exit) is the focus of designing roundabouts that are safe for all users, including motorcyclists, vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists.  Lowering entry and operating speeds of roundabouts means that all users who are on the road (cyclists, motorcyclists, cars, buses etc), are travelling at the same speed, so it is easier for cyclists to ‘claim their lane’ and not be pushed out of the way.  
  • Visibility – if drivers approaching a roundabout can assess gaps in traffic too early, they are less likely to see a cyclist, and less likely to slow down.
  • Alternative route – for less confident cyclists, there will be shared paths on the outside of the roundabout so that cyclists can use these to negotiate the roundabout separated from the traffic.  There will be improved crossing opportunities and slower vehicle speeds, so picking gaps in traffic will be easier. 

The Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency website has more information on roundabouts and cycle safety.

Tracking has been done to see if trucks and larger vehicles will be able to navigate around the roundabout. 

This has been modelled using a standard size bus. Findings are that vehicles up to the size of a bus should be able to navigate the roundabout with ease. This would include utility vehicles pulling a boat or trailer, trucks, campervans, and utility vehicles pulling caravans.

This is a main route for school children walking, scootering, and cycling home from Pillans Point School.

The key problems: 

  • There have been motor vehicle crashes at the Bureta Road/Vale Street intersection, however, most crashes have been non-injury crashes. A pedestrian fatality occurred at the pedestrian crossing on Vale Street adjacent to Bureta Road in 2017
  • Based on crash history, key safety issues in the area result from crossing/turning crashes due to vehicles failing to give way
  • Pedestrians and cyclists are at the highest risk of a fatality or serious injury if involved in a crash. As our community becomes more active, and with potential development proposed in the area, there is likely be an increase in the number of active road users in the future
  • The new location in front of the Countdown carpark better meets the needs of users, particularly the school and elder housing users which are our most vulnerable.  Pedestrians will still be able to cross at the intersection, however if they need a safer option, it is still within 40m of the Bureta Road/ Vale Street intersection. 
  • High vehicle speeds on Vale Street/Chapel Street/Ngātai Road.  The new crossing will be on a raised table, reducing the high speeds in this mid-block section, where there are still private accesses (driveways) and the Vale Street entrance into the shopping centre carpark.  
  • The speed environment is inappropriate for the number of vehicles and vulnerable road users. People are currently travelling at a much higher speed than what is considered safe in an urban/residential area.

Moving the pedestrian crossing further along Vale Street will reduce some of these risks. 

Most pedestrian crashes occur while pedestrians are attempting to cross the road. A range of solutions can help pedestrians to cross safely, including the use of formal crossing points.

The Ngātai Road and Bureta Street intersection upgrade will be part of a separate project at a later date.

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Keep me informed

To sign up for project updates email transport@tauranga.govt.nz

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Talk with a staff member

Call Tauranga City Council directly on 07 577 7000,
or email Jennifer Pearson jennifer.pearson@tauranga.govt.nz 

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