× Search

Fifteenth Avenue to Welcome Bay

Tūhono Ngā Tangata – mai Te Papa ki Tikorangi

Connecting the people. Fifteenth Avenue to Welcome Bay

Our city is growing fast. The Fifteenth Avenue, Turret Road and Welcome Bay Road route links many communities and is going to become increasingly important as our city grows.

Update May 2024

Plans to reduce congestion and improve walking and cycling facilities on Fifteenth Avenue, Turret Road and Welcome Bay Road are being amended in line with new government policy which sets out how funding will be allocated for transport activities. 

Commissioners have approved a business case for funding for the project to be considered by NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi (NZTA). The agency must consider the Government Policy Statement (GPS) on land transport when making its funding decisions. The 2024-34 GPS is still in draft form however it signals that investment in projects that connect people and freight quickly and safely, support economic growth and create social and economic opportunities will be a funding priority.

The project will still deliver the Fifteenth Avenue, Turret Road, and Hairini Bridge and causeway upgrades to reduce traffic congestion and improve transport choices as part of the business case for funding to NZTA, with the work to be carried out from mid-2025 to late 2026.  

Plans for the proposed safety improvements and upgrade of walking and cycling facilities for Welcome Bay Road have been amended and funding for this work will be sought outside the immediate project. These works were planned for late 2026 to early 2028 and we still hope to deliver these with a different funding source. 

Proposed new traffic signals at the intersection of Welcome Bay Road and James Cook Drive and a mini roundabout at the intersection of James Cook Drive and Victory Street (added to the proposed plans following community feedback) will still go ahead as part of the project. 

The purpose of the project remains the same - to reduce single occupancy vehicle use and make it more attractive to travel by bus, walk, cycle or scooter. Council is committed to achieving all of the proposed outcomes of this project in the long-term. While there has been substantial community support for changes that reduce congestion in the area, we know that people also want safer places to cross the road and safe spaces to use different modes of transport such as cycling, walking, skating and scootering.

Community consultation 2023

Thanks to everyone who provided feedback in September-October 2023, either by completing the survey, sending us an email, leaving a comment on social media, or dropping in to talk to us at Welcome Bay about our plans to reduce traffic congestion and improve walking and cycling facilities along Fifteenth Avenue, Turret Road, Hairini Bridge and causeway and Welcome Bay Road. 

Along with our technical investigations, your input is helping to inform the ideas being taken forward in the early design. 

You can read the one-page summary of community feedback and/or read the full engagement report below.

Summary of community feedback (47kb pdf) Full engagement report (1.1mb pdf)

What are we proposing?

Based on our technical investigations and community feedback gathered in 2023, we are proposing improvements to Fifteenth Avenue, Turret Road, and Hairini Bridge and causeway, and the signalisation of the Welcome Bay Road/James Cook Drive intersection and a mini roundabout at Victory Street/James Cook Drive. All other walking and cycling and road safety improvements along Welcome Bay Road will be funded and delivered separately outside the scope of this project.

Below is a map showing an overview of the project area.

Overview map

Overview map (66kb pdf)

  • Zone 1 - Cameron Road to Burrows Street
  • Zone 2 - Burrows Street to Hairini/Maungatapu underpass
  • Zone 3 - Hairini/Maungatapu underpass to James Cook Drive
  • Zone 4 - James Cook Drive to project end (past Ranginui Road)

Proposed improvements

The proposed improvements include:

  • Four-laning of Fifteenth Avenue from Cameron Road to Burrows Street, one lane in each direction for general traffic and one high occupancy lane (T2) for vehicles with two or more passengers (including buses)
  • Raised centre median on Fifteenth Avenue from Cameron Road to Fraser Street
  • New signalised crossing at intersection of Fifteenth Avenue and Devonport Road
  • New traffic signals at the intersection of Grace Road and Fifteenth Avenue
  • Shared use path on Fifteenth Avenue between Fraser Street and Hairini Bridge (on the south side)
  • Shared use path on Fifteenth Avenue between Fraser and Burrows Streets (on the north side)
  • Completion of the shared path along Burrows Street, including new pedestrian crossings.
  • New signalised crossing on Turret Road
  • New traffic signals for the Silver Birch Holiday Park near Hairini Bridge (allowing both entrance and exit from the park and turnaround of southbound traffic).
  • Three-laning of Hairini Bridge and causeway, including a tidal flow system which means there could be two lanes of traffic going into the city in the morning, changing to two lanes going out of the city in the afternoon
  • A clip-on shared use path on Hairini Bridge for walking and cycling
  • Proposed new traffic signals at the intersection of Welcome Bay Road and James Cook Drive with two approach lanes (one for buses only during the morning peak)
  • Mini roundabout at the intersection of James Cook Drive and Victory Street.

Waitaha Road roundabout and safety improvements near Welcome Bay School 

A new roundabout is being built at the intersection of Welcome Bay Road and Waitaha Road.   A raised pedestrian crossing will be added on Waitaha Road and another pedestrian crossing will be installed on Welcome Bay Road (city side of the roundabout) to provide a safe crossing point for people walking or using a bike. The existing pedestrian crossing opposite Welcome Bay Village will be upgraded to a raised pedestrian crossing. 

Work currently under away on Welcome Bay Road
Work currently under way on Welcome Bay Road

A raised pedestrian crossing has recently been added outside Welcome Bay School. 

Protecting our flora and fauna

The Pōhutukawa trees next to Turret Road are protected as Notable trees under the City Plan. They will not be impacted by changes proposed in any of the options. There may be opportunities to enhance the space around these trees to ensure they are protected and continue to be valued by the community.

The Hairini Bridge is home to a colony of protected white-fronted terns which nest on the historic piers on the western side of the bridge. We are investigating options to ensure a good nesting habitat for the tern population is available before any changes are made to the area.


There is a need to invest in transport improvements in the Welcome Bay area.

This is because there is:

  • High reliance on private vehicles for journeys to work and education
  • Unappealing walking, cycling and public transport choices
  • Limited routes across the harbour, and a growing population that is creating more peak time congestion
  • A need to address the wider housing supply issue for the Bay of Plenty
  • A need to comply with Government’s Emissions Reduction Plan and targets.

The purpose of this business case is to develop a long-term investment plan to address these issues, improve access and enhance the place, amenity, and cultural values of the route.

People have identified a wide range of issues that they experience with transport in the area.

Summary of Engagement - July 2022 (57kb pdf)

  • Moving people and goods – Limited routes across the Tauranga harbour, a growing population and lack of local employment, education, goods, and services has resulted in congestion at peak times. This is causing travel delays and increased carbon emissions.
  • Transport choice – A lack of priority and poor-quality infrastructure for active and public transport modes has resulted in car-dependent communities. This makes it difficult to achieve carbon emission and mode shift targets.
  • Severed communities – High traffic volumes and reduced access to and across the corridor has severed communities. This impedes access to key destinations (schools, marae, parks, and shops) and reduces social wellbeing and connectivity.

By investing in improvements, we are aiming for:

  • Efficient access and movement - Increase the number of people in the area who are within 30 minutes of key social and economic opportunities in the morning peak hours.
  • Improved choices – More people travel to school and work by walking, cycling or public transport.
  • Improvements in our local environment – Improved quality and amenity of our local environment and reduction in carbon emissions.
  • Ability to reflect Te Ao Māori and restore and build partnerships with local hapū - Changes would allow the development of Māori land, improve access to the harbour, improve sense of community and recognise cultural links to wāhi tapu.

Learn more about the transport challenges our city faces.

Connecting the people. Fifteenth Avenue to Welcome Bay is one of the key projects in the Western Bay of Plenty Transport System Plan - a shared transport vision for the region over the next 30 years to make sure transport projects are not done in isolation and that they work for everyone.

The TSP aims to support a projected population of 258,000 residents and 34,000 new homes, resulting in more than one million extra transport movements a day by 2050.

It is focused on generating a shift from cars to public transport, improving safety, providing reliable travel times for freight, and creating better walking and cycle connections. It also aims to increase public transport use, along with cycling and walking to help reduce transport-related greenhouse gas emissions and improve road safety.

Read more here

A business case is a document that provides the justification for initiating a project and is developed in collaboration with partners, stakeholders and the wider community. Key elements of a business case include clearly defining the problem we’re trying to solve and ensuring a wide range of potential solutions have been considered. It evaluates the benefit, cost and risk of alternative options and provides a rationale for the preferred solutions.

Read more here

Key information

Project type
Major projects
Planning, design and renewal
Transport and movement


Welcome Bay / Ohauiti / Oropi
City centre
Maungatapu / Matapihi

Key dates

  • Start work to prepare business case

    Early 2022
  • Engagement with partners, stakeholders and the local community

    June to November 2022
  • Development and assessment of options

    June 2022 to mid-2023
  • Engagement on options

    Wednesday 13 September - Friday 6 October 2023
  • Complete the early design with input from partners, stakeholders and community feedback

    October 2023 - April 2024
  • Business case approved to take forward to NZTA by Commissioners

    May 2024
  • Assuming the business case funding is approved by NZTA, engagement with the community on detailed design

    Late 2024 to 2025
  • Construction

    Mid 2025 - late 2026

Who's listening

Transportation Team
Tauranga City Council

07 577 7000

Related projects

Connecting the people. Fifteenth Avenue to Welcome Bay is part of Council's wider strategic objectives to support the city's rapid growth.

Te Papa Spatial Plan
Western Bay of Plenty Transport System Plan
Building our future – Cameron Road, Te Papa
Plan change 33
Welcome Bay parks improvements

Next steps

Commissioners approved the business case in May 2024 for submission to NZTA mid-2024. A funding decision to continue to a detailed design is anticipated in October 2024. Provided the business case is successful, we will engage with the community again on the detailed design before any physical works begin.

Our partners 

The project is a partnership between Tauranga City Council, NZTA, Bay of Plenty Regional Council and mana whenua.

Glossary of terms

Below you can find descriptions and examples of some of the features discussed above.

High occupancy vehicle lane (HOV)

A high occupancy vehicle lane (HOV) caters for vehicles carrying two passengers (T2) or three passengers (T3) or more. These lanes can also be used by buses, which means that they can avoid being stuck in general traffic, making them a more attractive transport option. HOV lanes encourage more people to carpool and assist in reducing congestion.

T3 lane

Tidal flow lane

Tidal flow lanes use overhead signs and lighting on the road to change the direction of a traffic lane depending on the time of day. Tidal flow lanes can be an effective solution to help reduce congestion without the costly and time-consuming process of building new physical lanes.

Tidal flow lane
Credit: Auckland Transport

Bus priority lane

These are bus only traffic lanes. They can be used at peak times only, or full-time dedicated bus lanes.

Bus lane

Bus ‘jumps’ / priority lights

These are changes to signals at intersections to let buses go before general traffic. Bus jumps speed up bus travel times, making them a more attractive transport option.

Priority lights

On-road cycle lane

Cycle lanes are painted lanes within the road that are suitable for cyclists. Cycle lanes can be located adjacent to parking, next to the kerb (kerbside), and between two traffic lanes (for example, on the approach to an intersection).

On-road cycle lane

Shared path

Shared paths are intended to be used by pedestrians, cyclists, people who scooter and skateboard and people who use mobility devices.

Shared path

Flexible road safety barriers/centre median barriers

Flexible wire rope road safety barriers are installed down the middle of a road to prevent head-on collisions, or along the side of the road to help stop run-off-road crashes. These barriers catch vehicles before they hit something harder, such as a pole, tree or oncoming car. If you hit a flexible barrier, the steel cables flex, slowing down your vehicle and keeping it upright. They absorb the energy of the impact, which means that you and your passengers don’t. When safety barriers are installed, they can reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured in crashes by 75 percent.

Flexible road safety barriers
Credit: Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency

Turnaround bay

Where there are median barriers, you may need to travel a bit further to turn right, or turnaround, to access a road or driveway. Turnaround bays provide drivers a place to turn safely.

Benefits of turnaround bays include:

  • an easier right-turn out of a side road or driveway, as you won’t need to navigate opposing lanes of traffic
  • reducing the risk of a rear-end crash from someone driving behind a person turning right
  • combining accessways and turning points at a safe location on the road
  • providing an alternative location for people driving to safely stop, such as for maintenance and in an emergency.

Watch this video to see an example of a turnaround bay. Credit: Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency

Other ways to get involved

Tauranga is your city. We’re working to make it even better.

Tauranga City Council, Private Bag 12022, Tauranga, 3143, New Zealand |Terms of use|Privacy statement

Back To Top