Transport Minister Michael Wood acknowledged Ngāti Hurungaterangi, Ngāti Te Roro o Te Rangi/Ngāti Uenukukōpako, Ngāti Tura - Ngāti Te Ngākau, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, Rotorua Lakes Council, project partners and key stakeholders on the weekend at an event to celebrate safe and connected communities, and the completion of two significant transport projects for the city.
Marking the completion of major improvements on State Highways 5 and State Highway 30, Transport Minister Michael Wood said improving the safety and resilience across the region’s state highways and making it easier for people to choose other means of transport would help improve user experience for those traveling to and from Rotorua.
“People traveling through two of the main gateways to the city can expect safer journeys and better travel options with the completion of these two projects. The upgrades feature safer intersections and upgrades to cycling and walking infrastructure, improve safety and better traffic flow for road users, and address community concerns around safety and congestion. Improving the safety of roads in Rotorua also fits into this Government’s Road to Zero strategy, where we aim to reduce deaths and serious injuries,” said Michael Wood.
“Rotorua is a growing region with a transport network that serves both inter-regional and local traffic.
“There continues to be a lot of work happening on the state highway network in Rotorua. This is an exciting time for the city, with significant investment being put into improving the transport network and support housing development in Eastern Rotorua,” said Michael Wood.
In Ngongotahā, traffic is now travelling through the upgraded SH5/SH36 two-lane roundabout, featuring a new bypass lane, improved cycle and pedestrian facilities and wider sealed shoulders. Along an 8.1km section of SH5, between Tarukenga and Ngongotahā, road widening and the installation of roadside and median safety barriers at high-risk locations improve safety for road users.
On the Eastside, between Sala Street and Iles Road, SH30 now features 3.5km of shared path on both sides, an upgraded SH30/Tarawera Road intersection, the upgraded Puarenga Bridge underpass which links into the wider Cy-Way network, and four lanes between Allen Mills and Iles Roads making it easier for people to move around safely and choose different modes of transport.
With the SH30 works between Sala Street and Iles Road complete, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency commenced work to improve the next section of the highway. The Eastern Corridor – Stage Two project is in construction and will see upgrades to intersections at Basley, Ōwhata and Wharenui roads, a new three-metre-wide shared path and on-road cycle lane from Iles Road to Coulter Road, an on-road cycle lane, four-laning between Iles and Basley roads and Brent and Ōwhata roads, as well as safety improvements such as new pedestrian crossings and refuge islands.
Phase One of the Stage Two project, between Iles Road and Coulter Road, received $35 million from the Government’s Crown Infrastructure Partners funding for construction to support growth and development in Eastside Rotorua.
“Joined-up planning is critical to futureproof key transport connections for future development,” said Michael Wood.
“We’re excited to see these plans come together to deliver better and safer travel choices for the wider Rotorua community.”
Michael Wood also acknowledged the significant support from local iwi and hapū.
“The support of local iwi and hapū Ngāti Hurungaterangi, Ngāti Te Roro o Te Rangi/Ngāti Uenukukōpako, Ngāti Tura - Ngāti Te Ngākau is an important part of the success of these projects and continues to be moving forward.”
Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick says these projects have been crucial to ensuring we have better connections into our city, enabling housing and preparing for growth, and it’s fantastic to see these stages complete.
“The upgrades have added to a lovely, calm summer, with many people commenting on how well the new layouts are working and how great it all looks,” Mayor Chadwick said.
“Our community has been very resilient during the process of the upgrades, with the general disruptions caused by road works, plus additional COVID-19 delays. There is a bit more to come with Stage Two works on SH30/Te Ngae road and final tidy ups, but I’m very much looking forward to seeing the investment in Rotorua continue with the rest of the Te Ngae Road upgrade and the wider Connect Rotorua programme.”
(Left to Right Jessica Andrew - Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Regional Manager System Design, Cassandra Crowley – Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Deputy Chair, Fisher Wang - Rotorua Lakes Councillor, Tāmati Coffey – List MP Labour, Paraone Pirika - Ngāti Te Roro o te Rangi / Ngāti Uenukukopako, Hon Michael Wood - Minister of Transport, Geoff Rice - Ngāti Tura - Ngāti Te Ngākau Trust Chair, Dave Donaldson - Deputy Mayor Rotorua Lakes Council, Anahila Kanongata'a-Suisuiki – List MP Labour, Lyall Thurston – Bay of Plenty Regional Transport Committee Chair, Mercia Yates – Rotorua Lakes Councillor)