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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.

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 2022, we developed proposed options for improvements on Fifteenth Avenue, Turret Road, Hairini Bridge and causeway and Welcome Bay Road.

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

Overview map

Overview map (66kb pdf)

Below are details of proposed options within each of the zones identified in the map above.

Fifteenth Avenue, Turret Road and the Hairini Bridge and causeway between Cameron Road and SH29A Interchange

Zone 1-2 map

Zone 1-2 map (100kb pdf)

  • High-occupancy vehicle or bus priority lanes created on Fifteenth Avenue between Cameron Road and Burrows Street, Turret Road and Hairini Bridge and causeway to help people move around our city faster and more reliably. High occupancy lanes could be for two or more people (T2) or three or more people (T3). This would reduce the existing general traffic lanes in some sections of the corridor from two to one.
  • Creating a third lane between Burrows Street and SH29A Interchange (across the bridge and causeway).
    • To make space for this additional lane across the bridge, we would introduce  a clip-on shared use path (for people walking, cycling, scootering or using a mobility device).
    • We are exploring the viability of this additional lane for ‘tidal flow’.
      • ‘Tidal flow’ means the direction of the traffic lanes can be changed depending on the demand.
      • For example, there could be two lanes into the city in the morning and two lanes out to Welcome Bay in the afternoon, to reduce congestion.
    • If a ‘tidal flow’ system isn’t possible (e.g. for safety reasons) the third lane could be a permanent additional ‘citybound’ lane.
      • One of the citybound lanes could be a high-occupancy vehicle or bus priority lane.
  • Safe places for people to walk and ride bikes including a shared path or on-road cycle facilities that will help connect people to schools, shopping, and other activities.
  • Two new signalised crossings on Fifteenth Avenue, one at Devonport Road and one at Grace Road to provide safe crossing points for people who walk and ride bikes and scooters.
  • Safety improvements including 30km speed zones around Tauranga Boys’ College and St Mary’s Catholic School, raised tables on the approaches to some intersections, and centre median barriers on Fifteenth Avenue.
  • A turnaround bay is proposed for Turret Road near the Hairini Bridge to provide drivers a place to turn safely.

Long-term option

We are also investigating when four lanes between Burrows Street and SH29A Interchange might be needed. We do not believe this will be needed in the short-term and will use further test results on the bridge life expectancy and traffic modelling to understand timing.

A three-lane option across the Hairini Bridge and causeway will cost significantly less than the continuation of four lanes from Burrows Street to the end of the Hairini causeway. It will also take less time to plan, consent and build. The additional costs for a four lane option relate to the need to purchase property and build a new bridge. We believe the three-lane option is a good short to medium term option to make the best use of the existing bridge for its remaining life, improve transport choices along the corridor and reduce congestion.

Welcome Bay Road


Zone 3-4 map

Zone 3-4 map (99kb pdf)

  • Two new signalised intersections with bus priority, one at Kaitemako Road and one at James Cook Drive to allow for safer crossings and to improve bus and traffic flow. We’re also investigating the viability of bus lanes along sections of Welcome Bay Road.
  • A bus priority lane on James Cook Drive between Victory Street and Welcome Bay Road.
  • Safe places for people to walk and ride bikes including:
    • Shared user path on the northern side of Welcome Bay Road between Welcome Bay School and Kaitemako Road.
    • On-road cycle lane on the southern side of Welcome Bay Road between Welcome Bay School and Kaitemako Road.
  • Safety improvements including new and upgraded crossings and raised tables for people walking or using a bike as well as 30kph speed zone around Welcome Bay School and Welcome Bay Village (part of Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency's Road to Zero strategy).

Waitaha Road roundabout and safety improvements near Welcome Bay School

A new roundabout will be built at the intersection of Welcome Bay Road and Waitaha Road. Raised tables (crossings) will also be added either side of the roundabout on Waitaha Road and 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 also be upgraded to a raised table. Construction of these improvements is expected to get underway in March 2024 and Council will engage with local residents before physical works begin.

As part of Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency’s Road to Zero strategy, a 30km speed zone is proposed around Welcome Bay School and a raised crossing will be added outside the school. Council is engaging with the Welcome Bay School community and construction is due to get underway in January 2024.

No changes will be made to the Hairini/Maungatapu underpass.
If you would like more explanation of any of the technical terms, see our Glossary of terms below.

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
  • Complete the early design with input from partners, stakeholders and community feedback

    October 2023 - March 2024
  • Complete the Business Case for government funding

    April to mid-2024
  • Assuming the business case funding is approved, detailed design with engagement will start, leading to resource consents and physical works

    Late 2024 to 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

Following a high-level summary of the community feedback presented to the Commission in late October 2023, completion of the business case for funding will proceed on the basis of creating a third lane (including a tidal flow system) over the Hairini Bridge and causeway as the preferred short-medium term option. 
Between October 2023 and March 2024, the following activities will take place:

  • Complete the design to a level suitable to inform cost estimates and funding, including input from partners and community feedback
  • Road Safety Audit of the design  
  • Cost estimate for the project (including a peer review)  
  • Economic assessment of the project (including a peer review)  
  • Start baseline monitoring of the white-fronted tern population in the Waimapu Estuary  
  • Continued engagement with Council subject matter experts, project partners (including mana whenua), schools and individual property owners, as required  
  • Reporting to the Commissioners.  

Between April and June 2024, the focus is to complete the business case for submission to the New Zealand Transport Agency mid-2024. A funding decision to continue to a detailed design is anticipated in October 2024. Provided the business case is successful, we will look to engage with the community on the detailed design before any physical works begin.

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

Raised table/speed table

A raised safety platform to reduce vehicle speeds with the benefit of providing a safe crossing place for people walking or using a bike.

Raised table on roundabout

Other ways to get involved

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

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