The NZ Transport Agency has announced the construction of a grade separated underpass from Welcome Bay Road as its preferred option to improve the SH29 and SH2A intersection at Maungatapu.
The underpass will see a new two lane link from SH2A beneath the Maungatapu roundabout that will connect to Welcome Bay Road.
NZTA Regional Director Robert Brodnax said the agency’s 18 month investigation had identified the underpass as the best transport solution for separating local and state highway traffic, improving safety and relieving congestion at the Maungatapu intersection.
Mr Brodnax said the underpass would make the movement of freight in the region safer and more efficient, as SH29 is an important freight route and SH2A is the main connection for the Welcome Bay community to the CBD.
Mr Brodnax said the underpass would also address the future transport capacity of the current signalised SH29 and SH2A roundabout through the separation of state highway and local traffic, helping to improve the efficiency of the network.
In addition to providing better and more efficient traffic flows during peak period travel, the underpass will also make travel safer and easier for pedestrians and cyclists from all directions.
Tauranga Mayor Stuart Crosby welcomed today’s announcement as an example of an effective partnership between local and central government to improve transport infrastructure.
"This announcement marks a significant step forward in addressing the transport needs of both local Tauranga traffic and inter-regional traffic. While there are still some challenges ahead I am certain that by working together with dedication and hard work we can achieve a great result."
Mr Brodnax said the NZTA would continue to work closely with Tauranga City Council, and the agency was now preparing to lodge the Notice of Requirement (NoR) for designation for the Hairini Link underpass, with public consultation likely to get underway in mid-2012. Construction of the underpass is likely to commence in 2014/15.
A public information day will be held later in the year to provide an opportunity for the community to find out more about the project.