With the completion of the Tauranga Eastern Link (TEL) now less than 12 months away, the project team are turning their attention to the part of the new highway that will be tolled.
Tolling is a well-established practice in many parts of the world and enables construction of road projects to be brought forward. This is the case with the TEL, which was able to be built five to 10 years ahead of schedule.
The TEL will allow quicker access to and from the Port of Tauranga, improving efficiency with less time and money lost with goods stuck in traffic or moving more slowly in built-up areas. For some freight operators, the time-savings are expected to allow an extra trip to the port each day.
A 15.5 kilometre section of the 21 kilometre road will be tolled. This tolled section runs from the Domain Road interchange to the Paengaroa roundabout, at the intersection of State Highway 2 (SH2) and State Highway 33 (SH33).
The technical shelter for the toll point is under construction and the concrete protection barriers are complete. Work has begun on the foundations of the toll point gantry which is expected to be installed in December.
This will be the second toll road in Tauranga along with Route K which runs in to the city from the west.
Like the Northern Gateway Toll Road north of Auckland, TEL and Route K will use electronic tolling. This means cameras mounted on the toll point gantry will capture the number plate of every vehicle that passes through, so motorists will not have their journey interrupted by having to stop and make a manual payment.
The final cost of the TEL toll will be established in the coming months, with the maximum price to be $2.50 for a car and $6 for a truck. A range of payment options will be available to customers. Businesses will be encouraged to set up one account covering all of their vehicles.
In New Zealand all toll roads must have a non-tolled alternative available to motorists and for the TEL this will be the existing route through Te Puke.