- Four lanes, two in each direction, providing a safer and more direct route between Tauranga to Paengaroa.
- Central median barrier.
- New intersections for Sandhurst Drive, Domain Road and Paengaroa junction (SH2/33).
- New overbridge for Parton and underpass for Maketu Roads.
- Urban design incorporating extensive landscaping.
- Electronic free-flow tolling system.
The objectives of the Tauranga Eastern Link project are to:
- support the managed growth for the area;
- improve efficiency and contribute to economic development through improved travel time;
- provide a more direct route to the Port of Tauranga;
- provide a safer route between Tauranga and Paengaroa.
Planning for the future and addressing the need to manage growth, ensure economic development and traffic safety issues for the region are key objectives for building the Tauranga Eastern Link.
Western Bay of Plenty – growth snap shot
- One of New Zealand’s fastest growing residential areas.
- Population is expected to double over the next 30 years to 286,000.
- By 2051 Papamoa East is predicted to be a city the size of Nelson with 40,000 people and the total population of the eastern corridor itself will be upwards of 60,000.
- Set to become the fourth or fifth most populated region in New Zealand.
As the population continues to grow, this will increase pressure on existing infrastructure.
The key drivers of this growth will be increasing use of the Port of Tauranga, New Zealand’s largest port, and the development of new residential, commercial and industrial land to the east of the city.
Planning for future land use and transport in the Western Bay of Plenty has been considered in an integrated manner under the SmartGrowth Strategy (external link) developed by local authorities and road controlling agencies. This strategy has a focus on corridors – known as SmartTransport Corridors. The Tauranga Eastern Link is a key priority within the development of the Eastern Corridor, and is an essential component of an integrated transport network.
The urban areas within the eastern corridor, including Papamoa East, Te Puke and Rangiuru, by 2051 are expected to grow with around 60,000 new residents anticipated to move to the area. Development of the eastern corridor will support and complement the existing developing areas located south-east of Mount Maunganui.
In broad terms, future development along the eastern corridor is expected to contribute around $8.5 billion to the Western Bay of Plenty sub-region economy. This includes:
- 17,500 new homes
- 450 hectares of industrial development
- up to 100,000 square metres of shops, office and commercial activity.
From a growth management and planning perspective, the Tauranga Eastern Link is integral to the development of the eastern parts of Tauranga and will form a transport network that will support and enable the anticipated growth.
In terms of road safety the Tauranga Eastern Link will provide safer traffic flows. The section of State Highway 2 between Tauranga and Paengaroa, is the second-worst state highway under the New Zealand Road Safety Assessment Programme, based on fatalities and serious ongoing crashes per kilometre.
Tauranga Eastern Link begins at Te Maunga (near Baypark Stadium) in Tauranga and follows its existing route to the Domain Road intersection with State Highway 2 at Papamoa. It then leaves the current state highway route and crosses rural land parallel to Tara Road, across Parton Road and along the sandhills to the Kaituna River at the end of Bell Road. At this point the highway crosses the river and carries on past the Kaituna Wildlife Management Reserve. It heads south east across dairy farms and orchard lots before rising up over the railway line to join the existing junction of State Highways 2 and 33 (the Rotorua and Whakatane highways) near Paengaroa.