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Congestion, safety focus of 10-year plan for BOP

Hamilton Regional Office
Media Release

30 June 2004

Congestion, safety focus of Transit 10-year plan for BOP

Safety and congestion problems continue to be the main focus for transport planning in the Western Bay of Plenty as identified in Transit New Zealand’s 10-year State Highway Plan 2004/2005-2013/14 released today.

Major projects for construction in 2004/05 are the Hewletts Road Flyover and the Domain Road Intersection. Within the next three years, 11 safety improvements including rural realignments, rural intersection improvements, bridge widening projects and guardrails will be constructed across the Bay of Plenty.

Transit regional manager Colin Knaggs said rapid population and development growth in and around Tauranga is causing significant safety and congestion problems. A deterioration in the levels of congestion on the network would have a serious economic impact due to the importance of goods access to the Port of Tauranga, he said.

“Driven by the forecast population growth, the state highway network in the Western Bay of Plenty area, including Tauranga, requires substantial upgrading within the next 10-20 years, in conjunction with improved passenger transport services and travel demand management,” Mr Knaggs said.

He said the Strategic Roading Network (SRN) for the Western Bay of Plenty sub-region was now well defined by the Access partners which include Transit, Tauranga City Council and the Western Bay of Plenty District Council.

“Many of the improvements needed over the next 20 years are now designated and ready for design and construction when funding is available.”

Mr Knaggs said the 10-year plan showed Transit’s forecast spending on new roading projects in the Bay of Plenty over the next 10 years was at least $150 million, $27.1 million of that in 2004/05. An additional $330 million would be spent on maintenance in the 10-year period, $21.8 million in 2004/05. Large improvement projects (with construction costs over $3M) have been planned over 10 years. Small and medium-sized improvement projects have been planned over three years.

“Some of the projects outlined in the plan may be built faster and others added with additional funding we anticipate from a share of the regional distribution funding resulting from the Government’s December 2003 funding package, ‘Investing in Growth’ raised through an increase in petrol tax,” Mr Knaggs said.

The 10-year plan revealed the longer-term aim is to four-lane SH2 between Katikati and Bethlehem, connecting to Route K.

Mr Knaggs says designations for a four-lane expressway have already been confirmed for Te Puna to Omokoroa and the Tauranga Northern Arterial between Te Puna and Route K.

“We envisage that the four-laning of SH2 between Katikati and Bethlehem will be staged, for example, by initially constructing short sections of four-laning south of Katikati and at Te Puna before four-laning the full corridor,” Mr Knaggs said.

This four-laning had been deferred for some years due to funding constraints. But he said a range of traffic management measures such as improvement delineation and passing constraints were being introduced to improve safety.

As part of the SRN in the Western Bay of Plenty, Route J is now built and construction has started on the Hewletts Road Flyover and the Domain Road Intersection Upgrade, Mr Knaggs said.

A detailed investigation is also being completed into four-laning Hewletts Road and upgrading the Girven Road/Maunganui Road intersection and Te Maunga Junction.

The Eastern Bay of Plenty generally has lower traffic volumes and growth, Mr Knaggs said, but is affected by forestry development in the area. The major focus here will be safety.

The significant improvements to corridors servicing Rotorua in recent years means in the next 10 years, the focus is likely to be on modest safety improvements, he said.

Consultation played an important role in the development of the plan within the context of the new Land Transport Management Act (passed in November 2003), Mr Knaggs said.

All large project proposals have been reviewed to ensure integrated solutions that fitted with Bay of Plenty local authority plans and that the benefits of the plans were sustainable.

Major features of the Bay of Plenty 10-year plan include:

• a flyover at the Hewletts Road/Maunganui Road intersection on SH29 in Mt Maunganui and a two-lane roundabout at the Domain Road intersection on SH2, east of Tauranga - both are under construction
• continued development of a funding package with Transit’s Access partners for duplicating the Tauranga Harbour Bridge, and Hewletts Road Four-Laning
• speed restrictions, passing constraints and other traffic management measures on SH2 between Katikati and Tauranga to improve safety
• a realignment of SH33 at Three Mile Hill
• 11 safety improvements in the next three years including small rural realignments, rural intersection improvements, bridge widening and guardrails
• four passing lanes
• a new weighbridge at Paengaroa, east of Te Puke
• two effluent disposal facilities at Edgecumbe and Rangiuru on SH2
• working with Tauranga City Council developing cycle improvements between Hairini and Turret Road.

For further information go to: www.transit.govt.nz
Detailed maps and timing of projects are listed by region.

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