Following the recent traffic flow trial at the Landing Road Bridge in Whakatāne, the successful teardrop roundabout configuration is to be reinstated, as from 7am this Friday.


At last week’s Whakatāne District Council Projects and Services Committee meeting, Council elected members voted to reintroduce the modified roundabout layout “as soon as possible”, to reduce traffic congestion at the western entrance to the town during the busy summer holiday period.


The teardrop configuration was trialled to assess whether it would ease the additional traffic congestion expected during the three-month closure of the Peketahi Bridge at Taneatua, which will see all SH2 traffic rerouted through Whakatāne from mid-February next year. It means only traffic crossing the Landing Road bridge from SH30 will be able to turn onto Landing Road.


Reporting to the committee, Council Transportation Manager Martin Taylor said the traffic flow trial confirmed the teardrop layout reduces the travel time of all east-bound motorists using the bridge during peak-commute periods by three-five minutes. “The combined travel time saving amounts to approximately 55 hours a day, and while that benefit is partially offset by slightly longer journeys for a much lesser number of motorists who would normally access Landing Road from Hinemoa Street, or the western extension of Landing Road, there is a strong financial justification for the new configuration,” he said.


The committee also adopted a resolution to work with the New Zealand Transport Agency to investigate more-permanent solutions that can provide the same or greater benefits and reduce the adverse effects in the wider urban roading network.


Speaking to the recommendations, Mayor Tony Bonne said he had received a significant number of positive responses about the improved traffic flow at the roundabout, with more than 80 percent of the 171 comments on his Facebook page in favour of reintroducing the teardrop shape and less than 10 percent against.


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