The NZ Transport Agency has released plans for the SH2 corridor between Waihi and Tauranga to improve safety in the short and medium term as well as planning for future population growth.
The Transport Agency has re-evaluated the transport plans for the corridor to align with the priorities set out in the Government Policy Statement on Land Transport (GPS).
This work is now complete and supports the government’s vision for a safer transport network free of death and injury, accessible and affordable transport, value for money and reduced emissions.
The Transport Agency has confirmed the need for a new state highway on the current alignment of the Tauranga Northern Link. The new plans include a two lane route, one lane in each direction, between Te Puna and Tauranga alongside the existing road. This will mean there are four lanes of capacity on the corridor. There is an option for additional lanes on SH2, which may include a range of uses including enabling public transport to cater for growth to the west of the city. The construction timing and form of this route will depend on growth and funding priorities across the rest of the country.
The Transport Agency’s General Manager, System Design and Delivery, Brett Gliddon, says the plans will deliver short term safety improvements and more reliable public transport access on the existing state highway while continuing work to protect land for a new route in the long term.
“This programme will give people more transport choices including buses, walking and cycling to help cater for the growing communities and visitors travelling into Tauranga.”
“To begin with, we will focus on making people’s journeys safer with improvements to the existing road, such as flexible median and side barriers, wide centrelines and protecting people from hazards on the roadsides. The first section of the $101 million Waihi to Omokoroa safety improvements package is already underway.”
“Between Omokoroa and Te Puna we will start with safety improvements including an upgrade of the Omokoroa intersection. We will work with partners to improve and encourage public transport use including allowing greater space within the existing corridor for public transport and vehicles with more than two people (high occupancy vehicles).”
“In Katikati, we will work with the community to design solutions to make the town centre a better place to live by improving traffic management.”
“We will continue to hold the land designations which protect the route between Omokoroa and Te Puna, the Katikati bypass and the Tauranga Northern Link. This means that we will still have the ability to construct in these designations when the timing is right.”
A speed limit review of SH2 between Katikati and Bethlehem is also underway and we will be consulting with the community on this next month.
The exact plans, cost and timing for these projects are still being worked through, however the Transport Agency understands the urgency that is needed on SH2 between Waihi and Te Puna and this work is being prioritised.
In December the funding allocations for 12 re-evaluated corridors will be prioritised against funds available nationally and the timing of the programme will be confirmed. We will provide another update as soon as we can once that process has been completed.
“We appreciate people’s patience as we’ve worked through this important re-evaluation process and recognise the frustration that uncertainty can bring. We have been working as quickly as we can to align with new Government priorities and provide the best outcomes and value for money for communities now and in the future,” says Brett Gliddon.
More information about the project and the re-evaluation process can be found here: https://www.nzta.govt.nz/planning-and-investment/national-land-transport-programme/project-re-evaluations/