The Bay of Plenty Regional Transport Committee is encouraged by the $1.4 billion investment announced from Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.
The investment plans to deliver a safer, better connected and more resilient transport system capable of supporting significant regional growth.
Committee Chairman Councillor Lyall Thurston says the investment over the next three years will help implement regional growth plans, including a number of projects in the Western Bay of Plenty as part of the Urban Form and Transport Initiative.
“The Western Bay of Plenty, which includes Tauranga, is one of New Zealand’s fastest growing areas and during this NLTP period co-investment with partners to improve multimodal options to enable more people to have transport choice,” Chair Thurston says.
“We will continue to support local and district councils with their identified projects and priorities. This investment will help provide a more sustainable transport system with a focus on more environmentally-friendly and healthier travel options.”
Waka Kotahi will spend $121 million on improving safety in the region and this will include continued work along 35.8kms of State Highway 2 between Waihī and Ōmokoroa and a further 36kms between Wainui Road and Ōpōtiki.
Chair Thurston says while it’s good to see Takitimu North Link Stage One, a 6.8km four lane expressway between Tauranga and Te Puna starting construction later this year (subject to property purchase), he’s disappointed that Stage Two is still on hold.
“As a committee we wrote to the Minister of Transport earlier this year seeking urgent consideration of funding for the Ōmokoroa Interchange, and if possible the 4-laning of Stage Two between Te Puna and Ōmokoroa.”
Chair Thurston says the Stage Two link is one of the last major requirements for future-proofing the Tauranga network, including carbon reduction, and the safe efficient movement of freight and people.
Waka Kotahi has indicated in today’s announcement that Stage Two is unlikely to be funded unless the priority of the project increases or additional revenue becomes available.
Key investment highlights 2021-24:
- SH2 Waihī to Ōmokoroa safety improvements.
- Delivery of the SH30 Eastern Corridor Rotorua Connect Stage One.
- Phase one of SH30 Eastern Corridor Rotorua Connect Stage Two implementation.
- SH2 Wainui Road to Ōpōtiki safety improvements.
- Completion of SH33 Paengaroa to Te Ngae Road safety improvements.
- Improving the resilience of SH29 over the Kaimai Range.
- Tauriko West Enabling Works to support the residential and commercial growth in the Tauriko area.
- Continuation of Baypark to Bayfair Link to improve safety, access and pedestrian and cycling connections.
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