A series of road diversions due to roadworks on State Highway 22 are dangerous and leading to an increase in serious car crashes, residents say.
Waka Kotahi NZTA is carrying out the works to install a new roundabout at the intersection of Glenbrook Road and SH22.
Traffic is being diverted near Paerata on SH22 through Tuhimata Road and Burtt Road before joining up with main highway near Drury, in rural south Auckland.
Local resident Scott McMahon said there had been at least three serious accidents on road diversions in the area since the roadworks started.
Eight people were hospitalised following a serious crash on Burtt Road on Tuesday. Police said two people sustained serious injuries while another six people had moderate injuries after the accident.
The Glenbrook resident said he has been in contact with Waka Kotahi about the situation to no avail.
"A number of people I have spoken to have said this diversion is not safe and is in fact dangerous," McMahon said. "But it doesn't appear anyone is willing to look at the alternatives.
"The issue is the roads aren't suitable for the volumes of traffic they are seeing."
He said the fact parts of the detour have a 100km/h speed limit in sections, while SH22 has a 80km/h speed limit, illustrates the lack of thought that had gone into it.
"We've now had three significant accidents in less than a month," McMahon said. "We want to stop the stupidity of this bypass continuing. It's ludicrous."
Franklin Local Board chairman Andy Baker said he could understand the frustration of the local residents like McMahon and the current detours are not ideal.
"We were keen to have both lanes open at the roundabout to prevent them using local rural roads to detour traffic. And we thought Waka Kotahi would be able to work around it."
But it has instead detoured the northern lanes at Paerata and kept the southbound lanes open.
He said there was a fatal crash on one of the alternative routes near the Glenbrook turn-off last month.
"It has pushed traffic onto rural roads that weren't built for it," he said. "But I just don't think there are any realistic alternatives," Baker said.
"If they had left both lanes open through at the roundabout it would have taken months longer and infuriated people more."
Waka Kotahi director of regional relationships for Auckland and Northland Steve Mutton was aware of the recent accidents.
"Our thoughts are with everyone affected by these crashes. Waka Kotahi is pushing to complete this work as soon as possible and SH22 will be open to two-way traffic during weekdays by the end of next week."
He said weekend closures would continue until the end of February, with diversions in place.
Mutton said the bypass route was narrower than SH22 and urged anyone using it to take extra care and be patient when driving on what may be an unfamiliar road for them.
"There are different permanent and temporary speed limits in place on different sections of the diversion route, and we ask everyone to keep their speeds down, be patient and avoid unnecessary overtaking."
Local Democracy Reporting is Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air