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Regional Transport Committee supports announcement

Regional Transport Committee supports announcement
For immediate release: Monday 21 December 2009

REGIONAL Transport Committee Chair Jane Nees is delighted that construction of the Tauranga Eastern link is likely to be brought forward to 2010 following Friday’s announcement by the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) to use tolling on the road.

Mrs Nees, who is also an Environment Bay of Plenty Councillor, said that Central Government had recognised this stretch of highway from Te Maunga to Paengaroa on State Highway 2 as a road of national significance due to the value it would bring to the local and national economy.

“With more than 80 percent of submissions supporting the tolling proposal, Bay of Plenty residents have indicated they would like to see construction started sooner rather than later on the Tauranga Eastern Link,” Mrs Nees said.

“Friday’s announcement reflects the need to put infrastructure in place that will cater for the future economic and population growth of the region.”

The Tauranga Eastern Link will have two sections – one from Te Maunga to Domain Road that will be an upgrade of the existing two-lane road to a four-lane motorway and will not be tolled. The other section will be a completely new four-lane motorway with a median barrier from Domain Road to Paengaroa that will be tolled near the Pāpāmoa East interchange.

Mrs Nees said that SmartGrowth, a programme for managing growth in the western Bay of Plenty, had also recognised the challenges that population growth would bring to the region and noted that future projects including the Rangiuru Business Park would benefit immensely from the Tauranga Eastern Link motorway.

“We encouraged people to have their say and make submissions on the tolling proposal as part of the public consultation process and it’s clear that these submissions have had an impact on the decision to progress with the tolling proposal,” Mrs Nees said.

“This motorway will help manage population growth, ensure economic development, and improve efficiency, safety and access to the Bay of Plenty.”

If the tolling proposal is approved by Cabinet, the Order in Council is likely to be in place by July 2010, and the construction contract awarded late 2010.

ENDS

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