The NZ Transport Agency Board has approved funding to investigate improvements to State Highway 29 leading into Tauranga near Tauriko.
Earlier studies identified options for the route varying from realignments to a complete bypass of Tauriko. The $1.5 million investigation approved this week will review the options, consider their social and environmental effects, select the most appropriate solution after public consultation, undertake geotechnical studies and develop a preliminary design for the preferred route.
Harry Wilson, NZTA’s Regional Director for the Bay of Plenty, says this section of highway is coming under increased pressure.
“This very important gateway into Tauranga is surrounded by areas of development and a growing number of local road users have to contend with the high proportion of heavy vehicles on this key freight route heading between the Waikato and the Port of Tauranga.
“The area targeted for investigation also presents road users with a difficult driving environment. It includes several tight corners, limited sightlines as well as the Tauriko township and school. It has a poor safety record and route security issues.
“This investigation will ultimately lead to a solution that improves safety and effectiveness for all road users,” says Mr Wilson.
The investigation is likely to begin within two months and is expected to take a year to complete. Options will be released for public comment towards the end of this year.