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The new traffic signals at the Brookfield intersection will be turned on later this week.
The coordinated signals will control traffic flow around the elongated central island which links the two former intersections on Otumoetai Road, Millers Road intersection and two staggered pedestrian crossings. The signals will ease traffic flow during peak times, improve pedestrian safety and make the shopping centre access safer.
Once the new signals are switched on there will be an adjustment period of several days while the phasing is fine-tuned to ensure the best traffic flow at all times of the day.
The new intersection has meant some changes to the way motorists access the New World supermarket and Brookfield shopping centre car parks. There is no longer a right turning bay into Brookfield Lane and the main entrance to the New World supermarket is now 150 metres further along Bellevue Road away from the intersection.
The only entrance to the Brookfield shopping centre car park is now on Otumoetai Road.
Tauranga City Council project manager Helmut Marko said drivers can no longer turn right from the Brookfield shopping centre onto Otumoetai Road towards the intersection. The number of parks outside Brookfield shopping centre is similar but the angle of the parks has been changed to 90 degrees.
Millers Road intersection has also had signals installed to cater for increased traffic from the new link to Bethlehem. Other improvements include new street lighting, pedestrian crossing signals, a shared pedestrian and cycle path, strengthening of the existing road, extensions to a new stormwater line, a new bus stop and improved access for private driveways. The area will also be landscaped.
Mr Marko said the new intersection is quite unique in its layout. The improvements were necessary to relieve congestion at peak times and improve pedestrian access and safety around the shopping area. Congestion was worsening in the area after the Millers Road link to Bethlehem was completed in December. The number of vehicles using Millers Road each day is estimated to have more than doubled.
After Easter, rehabilitation work will start on Bellevue Road between the intersections with Sutherland and Waihi Roads. This is expected to take about three weeks.
Please take special care around the new intersection and shopping area, watch for new lane markings and signs, and keep your speed down.