The NZ Transport Agency has confirmed that the Rotorua Eastern Arterial (REA) will not be constructed and that the designation will no longer be required.
The REA designation, which encompassed land between Te Ngae Road and the edge of Lake Rotorua has been lifted. It had been in place since 1963 as a response to Rotorua’s expected growth and potential traffic issues at that time.
Transport Agency Waikato/ Bay of Plenty Regional Director Harry Wilson says the REA was previously seen as the long term solution to ease congestion on Rotorua’s eastern corridor, however investigations have shown that the growth can be managed with upgrades to the existing route.
“Rotorua is a key connection point for road transport in the central and upper North Island, linking industries such as tourism and forestry with the Port of Tauranga,” Mr Wilson says.
“The city’s eastern corridor has long been identified as the location for the majority of future residential and employment development in Rotorua and the Transport Agency has been carrying out extensive investigations to find the best transport plan for this area’s future.
“These investigations show that we can continue to support growth and improve Rotorua’s congestion issues by upgrading State Highway 30/Te Ngae Road corridor and that the designation for the REA is no longer needed.
Mr Wilson says after undertaking a further detailed and in-depth review of all options the Transport Agency is confident that the decision to lift the designation of the REA is the right one.
“Lifting the designation allows the land to be used to support Council’s spatial planning and gives the community and developers certainty.
“The Transport Agency will continue to work with Rotorua Lakes Council to identify future improvements such as more four-laning and projects to separate state highway and local road traffic as Rotorua grows to ensure the corridor supports traffic volumes into the future.”
“For now, we plan to start work on the initial $24 million roading package which will focus on the eastern and central corridors with an upgrade to State Highway 30 / Te Ngae Road.
“This will include improvements at the Te Ngae and Tarawera Road intersection, four-laning a section of Te Ngae Road, and improved walking and cycling connections.”
“As part of this package State Highway 30A Amohau Street will be revoked and the ownership handed to Rotorua Lakes Council to support their CBD revitalisation strategy.
Mr Wilson says the package addresses current capacity issues and accommodates medium-term growth and the Transport Agency will work to identify the future growth triggers for further investment.
The $24 million package of work comes on the back of road improvements that are already underway or will start shortly such as $3.5 million worth of safety improvements on State Highway 30 and 33 between Tauranga and Rotorua, a $5.5 million investment for cycling and the $8.1 million Hemo Road roundabout which is due to get underway in April.
These works will be co-funded by the government through the Transport Agency and Rotorua Lakes Council, and includes funding from the Urban Cycling Fund.