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15th Avenue corridor improvements

We want to make 15th Avenue safer and easier for people who live, work and go to school in the Avenues and for people who commute along Turret Road and 15th Avenue each day.

The challenge of 15th Avenue

  • more people move across 15th Avenue each day than along 15th Avenue
  • thousands of people travel every day to schools, jobs, medical centres, social services and shopping centres between 11th Avenue and 18th Avenue
  • the biggest disruption to travel times for people who are moving along 15th Avenue comes from the side roads and intersections.

Proposed way forward

To make better use of the travel space, our plans include:

  • widen 15th Avenue
  • create a new lane for buses, car pooling and people who are riding motorbikes and scooters
  • build a shared pathway that links from the Maungatapu underpass so more people can bike safely between the outer suburbs and the city.

Most trips in Tauranga are made by people in cars with no other passengers. As bus trips get more reliable and biking options get safer, it will make a big difference to the number of vehicles on the roads.

Construction progress

Due to funding issues construction for Stage One is currently on hold until further notice.

The key parts of Stage One are:

  • one new southbound traffic lane – between Fraser Street and Mayfair Street, to give the 15th Avenue/Fraser Street intersection a better chance to clear in the afternoons
  • traffic lights at the Burrows Street/15th Avenue intersection – to manage interruptions from the side roads
  • There will be no exit from Grace Road onto 15th Avenue on the Northern side of 15th Ave and Grace Rd. This will prevent traffic from merging into 15th Avenue and disrupting the flow of traffic. The Southern side of 15th Ave and Grace remains the same.
  • Turret Road slip lane closed – to give people driving on the main road a clear run onto the causeway

Timing: We can do this work without too much disruption because it doesn’t require lots of underground services to be shifted. We will endeavour to complete the majority of the louder works early in the evening, with the less intrusive works occurring later at night.

Frequently asked questions flyer (540kb pdf)

Concept plan - 15th Avenue stage 1 (1.2mb pdf)

Detailed drawings 1 - BECA (1mb pdf) Detailed drawings 2 - BECA (800kb pdf)
Detailed drawings 3 - BECA (900kb pdf) Detailed drawings 4 - BECA (800kb pdf)

Mid term plans (Late 2019) – Stage 1A

Further traffic modelling and analysis is underway to determine the most appropriate designs for traffic lights at the 13th Avenue/Fraser Street and 17th Avenue/Fraser Street intersections. The improvements to these intersections will occur after the completion of Stage 1 works and before Stage 2 begins.

Longer term plans (after 2020) – Stage 2

Aim: To get more people moving easily through and across the available travel space. We’re planning to do this by widening 15th Avenue in a way that makes it easier for more people to travel by bus, biking, walking and car pooling.

What does it involve? 

  • car pooling and bus lanes – to help make bus trips more reliable between Welcome Bay and the city
  • separated shared bike paths  – to offer a safe bike journey into the city
  • traffic lights in the surrounding Avenues – to limit the number of vehicles that arrive at 15th Avenue at any one time.

Timing: This will be a lengthy and disruptive piece of work. When we widen the road we’ll also need to shift a lot of underground services. We need to time this work carefully so that it doesn’t clash with the Baylink project. Having two major construction projects underway at the same time along two major transport routes will create much more disruption than people are seeing now.

Concept plan - 15th Avenue Stage 2 Fraser to Turret (1mb pdf)
Concept plan - 15th Avenue Stage 2 Cameron to Fraser (970kb pdf)
Concept plan - 15th Avenue Stage 2 surrounding intersections (2mb pdf)

Community feedback

We asked people for their thoughts about our proposals for 15th Avenue and have since been reviewing the project in light of everyone’s feedback. The feedback we received included:

  • General support for closing down the Turret Road access onto 15th Avenue and making Burrows Street a signalised intersection.
  • Concerns about safety for people using the 13th Avenue/Fraser Street intersection and the need for this to be signalised to improve access for residents.
  • General support for physical separation of people from other traffic.
  • Many comments about the Hairini Bridge and Turret Road in regards to potential for 3-lanes or 4-lanes.
  • A balance of opinion about whether work on Stage 2 should be carried out immediately or whether Council should wait until the Bayfair/Baypark works are completed.

Next steps

As a result of the public feedback, we’re assessing whether some elements of Stage 2 should be brought forward and delivered as part of Stage 1, including:

  • Traffic lights at 13th Avenue/Fraser Street
  • Traffic lights at 17th Avenue/Fraser Street
  • Additional modifications to Grace Road/15th Avenue intersection
  • Construction of Stage 1 is expected to be completed later in 2019, weather permitting. We will continue to work with affected parties throughout the design and construction of Stage 1.
  • We will continue to engage with affected parties as Stage 2 concepts are refined.
  • In 2019 we will speak with Scantlebury Street residents about options for alternative access in the plans for Stage 2.
  • Detailed design for Stage 2 begins in mid 2019.

We will continue to engage with the community as proposals are developed and finalised.

What about Turret Road and the Hairini bridge?

We’ve been investigating the bridge structure to see what sort of extra loading it can take. We’re continuing to work on the following:

  • Investigations into the viability of a tidal flow regime on Hairini Bridge and Turret Road, as well as the costs and limitations for 3-laning and 4-laning both. 
  • Risk assessment activities in respect of Turret Road and Hairini Bridge/causeway upgrading.

Whether we upgrade the existing bridge or build a new bridge, the cost will be significant, possibly in the region of $50 million. It is the most expensive project for the least amount of gain. We’re continuing to look at all the options, but in the meantime everyone will see more immediate benefits from the 15th Avenue improvements.

Last Reviewed: 15/03/2019

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