SH29 serves several roles. It is a vital route for freight from the Waikato and Auckland regions going to and from the Port of Tauranga, a local connector road, and an inter-regional route for visitors to the Bay of Plenty.
The problems with this section of SH29 include:
- a high and increasing crash rate
- poor road alignment (tight curves and gradients, etc)
- conflict between local and state highway traffic, including a high proportion of heavy trucks
- the effect the high volume of traffic has on the Tauriko community
- a high number of properties with direct access onto the highway
- increasing traffic volumes
- concerns due to unstable ground
- poor pedestrian and cycling facilities.
The objective of this study is to identify a preferred route to improve safety and trip efficiency on SH29 between Omanawa Road and the state highway/Route K junction.
The recommended route will first and foremost support the efficient transport of export product to the Port of Tauranga. It will also improve the safety of the area, cater for projected traffic volumes and efficiency demands, and be sustainable.
To meet these future demands it will have provision for four laning, grade separated intersections and have no direct property accesses.
This investigation includes:
- undertaking various engineering studies including determining geotechnical conditions and alignment restrictions, estimating traffic volumes each route would generate, and estimating costs
- considering any social, cultural, environmental and property effects
- consulting affected and interested people on possible options
- selecting the most appropriate solution.
Three options have been identified for consideration. They are:
- An upgrade of the existing route including realigning several sections.
- A new northern alignment.
- A new southern alignment.