Catching a glimpse of progress being made on the Bay of Plenty's largest ever roading project, the Tauranga Eastern Link (TEL), just got easier through a new set of binoculars at the top of the Papamoa Hills Regional Park.
The binoculars were installed thanks to a joint initiative between Bay of Plenty Regional Council and the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA).
Bay of Plenty state highways manager Brett Gliddon says17 kilometres of the TEL is being constructed generally out of public view making it difficult to see how much work has actually been done. Fortunately the outlook from the Papamoa Hills provides the public the opportunity to see just how much progress has been made on the road of national significance.
“The view from the Papamoa Hills looks out to Papamoa and towards Paengaroa, which covers the majority of the new 23 kilometre State Highway 2 which opens in 2016.”
Access to the binoculars is possible via a walking track from the Papamoa Hills Regional Park car park to the summit. It takes 45 minutes to reach the summit, and the track rises steeply through a pine forest up to the open ridge. The binoculars are located on the ridge between the trig at the summit and the big pine trees on Patakitahi which is in the northern corner of the park.
Mr Gliddon says the NZTA wanted to find a way to bring the Bay of Plenty community along the construction journey and installing the binoculars is all part of this by providing a good vantage point to view progress.
“The Papamoa Hills offer spectacular views of the landscape and coastline, including a good portion of the Tauranga Eastern Link, something quite unique for this project”.
“Since construction started two years ago there has been a considerable amount of work done, with more still to come over the next four”.
Regional Council Land Management Manager – Western Robyn Skelton said Papamoa Hills park was highly valued, and the binoculars would allow visitors to enjoy the scenery.
“We have great support from our Advisory Committee, working with Ngati Pukenga, Ngati He, Nga Potiki and Waitaha, as well as the New Zealand Historic Places Trust in developing the park. We’re looking forward to a great summer and have been busy this last year with planting, as well as track maintenance,” she said.
To keep up to date with progress go to the Tauranga Eastern Link project website at www.nzta.govt.nz/tel.
To find out how to get to the Papamoa Hills Regional Park visit http://www.boprc.govt.nz/discover-our-region/regional-parks/papamoa-hills-regional-park/(external link)
Colin Reeder (Nga Potiki) testing out the new binoculars as Matire Duncan (Nga Potiki) and Courtney Bell (Bay of Plenty Regional Council) enjoy the view.
The Government has identified seven essential state highway projects linked to New Zealand’s economic prosperity. Called the roads of national significance, or RoNS for short, the NZTA is charged with delivering this programme of state highway improvements. The RoNS programme represents one of New Zealand’s biggest ever infrastructure investments and is a key part of the Government’s National Infrastructure Plan and Government’s Policy Statement for transport.
The seven RoNS projects are based around New Zealand's five largest population centres. The focus is on moving people and freight between and within these centres more safely and efficiently. Other RoNS may be added in future but currently from north to south the seven projects are: Puhoi to Wellsford - SH1, Completing the Western Ring Route, Auckland - SH16, SH18 and SH20, Victoria Park Tunnel, Auckland - SH1, Waikato Expressway - SH1, Tauranga Eastern Link - SH2, Wellington Northern Corridor - SH1, Christchurch Motorways. More information is available at www.nzta.govt.nz/rons