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NZTA calling for submissions on tolling for Tauranga Eastern Link project

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Consultation is underway on a proposal to help bring forward the start of construction on the $455 million Tauranga Eastern Link by tolling one section of the road.

Consultation is underway on a proposal to help bring forward the start of construction on the $455 million Tauranga Eastern Link by tolling one section of the road.

The Eastern Link will be a four-lane motorway from Te Maunga to Paengaroa – without travelling through Te Puke. It comprises two sections – an upgrade of the existing State Highway 2 between Te Maunga and Domain Road at Papamoa and a new motorway from Domain Road to Paengaroa. Only the completely new section of the road is proposed to be tolled.

The Tauranga Eastern Link will bring significant benefits to the region. As a road of national significance it is a key piece of infrastructure that will improve connections between the Bay of Plenty, Tauranga and its port. It will reduce transport costs and improve economic productivity in the region.

The NZ Transport Agency has worked closely with Environment BOP, Western Bay of Plenty District Council and Tauranga City Council to progress the project. The NZTA and the Regional Transport Committee have jointly put forward tolling as an option to bring forward the start of construction.

Without tolling, construction is most likely to start in five to 10 years. If tolling gets the go ahead it would supplement traditional funding sources meaning construction could start as early as next year.

NZTA Waikato and Bay of Plenty regional director Harry Wilson said the Eastern Link will bring significant benefits to the region by providing a safer and more direct route between Te Maunga and Paengaroa.

“A more direct route means productivity gains – our traffic modelling shows us that this road could potentially create a 24 minute time saving on a return trip between Paengaroa and Te Maunga. This will make travel easier for people, and the movement of freight to the port more efficient.”

The road will be four lanes with a median barrier which will reduce the number of serious and fatal crashes. It is also expected to remove much of the heavy traffic from the main streets of Te Puke and Waitangi, and significantly improve safety on this section of State Highway 2.

Both Western Bay of Plenty District Mayor Ross Paterson and Tauranga City Mayor Stuart Crosby support the proposal.

Mr Paterson said the Eastern Link was a landmark arterial route that would open up the Western Bay district to the wider Bay of Plenty region.  “Not only will the road be of huge significance to the Port of Tauranga it will give access to planned industrial land at Rangiuru and Te Puke and facilitate managed and sustainable growth. 

“Against this background we look forward to the Eastern Link bringing immediate and tangible value by way of employment opportunities and wider economic development initiatives to the Western Bay of Plenty,” he said.

Mr Crosby said two streams of work had been happening in transportation over time - one was a series of catch up projects and the other - projects planning for progress - the Tauranga Eastern Link is a mix of these.
 
“The catch up part provides an alternative to a dangerous and congested highway.  The progress part caters for the transport needs of the future, in particular for the Port of Tauranga and our rapidly growing coastal strip, he said.

Mr Wilson said the decision to grant consent to toll a road was detailed and needed to go through public consultation, public hearings, NZTA board deliberations, a Ministerial review, a recommendation to cabinet and then a recommendation to the Governor General.

“The first step is public consultation which opens tomorrow. We encourage everyone in the Bay of Plenty to get along to one of the display points or to log on to the www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/easternlink(external link) for the full consultation documents,” said Mr Wilson.

Submissions must be in by 5pm Friday 11 September and can be sent in through the following:

Online submissions can be made at: www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/easternlink

Email your submission to:  taurangaeasternlink@nzta.govt.nz

Please post written submissions to: 

Tauranga Eastern Link Tolling Consultation
Private Bag 12054
TAURANGA 3143

You can drop your submissions at:  

NZ Transport Agency office       
405 Cameron Road      
TAURANGA

For more information please contact:

Andy Knackstedt
NZTA Media Manager
64 4 894 6285 
M  0212 763 222  
andrew.knackstedt@nzta.govt.nz

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