$655 million will be spent on Stage One of the Takitimu North Link. This is the first phase of a new 14km four-lane highway connecting Tauranga and Ōmokoroa. It is a key strategic transport corridor for the region, and will provide greater travel choice with public transport, and a shared path for walking and cycling.
The Takitimu North Link project runs between State Highway 29 (SH29) Takitimu Drive Toll Road and State Highway 2 (SH2) Ōmokoroa intersection.
SH2 Waihī to Tauranga is a busy highway with a poor safety record and the pressures of this have been felt for some time. From what was once a rural road passing through a few country settlements this section of state highway has developed into a busy commuter and freight route as well as an important tourist link for the northern Bay of Plenty and Coromandel Peninsula.
Western Bay of Plenty communities are projected to grow by 16,000 people in the next 20 years, and traffic crossing the Wairoa Bridge increasing from 20,000 to more than 30,000 daily by 2031.
With almost 90% of all journeys in Tauranga taken by private car, it is critical residents have better access to safer and more reliable travel options to provide greater choice in how they move about the region.
The rate of growth combined with existing safety, access and congestion issues means Takitimu North Link is a huge investment in the region’s growth.
The key overarching objectives of this project are:
- improve safety to reduce deaths and serious injuries
- improve access with more reliable travel times for local people, and regional freight to the Port of Tauranga from Western Bay of Plenty and Coromandel
- support greater travel choice through public transport prioritisation and shared path which will improve mode shift options
- support economic development and population growth in the Western Bay of Plenty in line with the Urban Form and Transport Initiative(external link)
- improve resilience to the road network.
The new 14-kilometre link will be a four-lane median divided expressway with public transport and a shared path for walking and cycling.
Interchanges will be built at Minden Road and Ōmokoroa Road, a new bridge crossing over the Wairoa River, an underpass at Cambridge Road and Wairoa Road, and a new west-bound single lane connection from 15th Avenue to the Takitimu Drive Toll Road.
Once complete, the Takitimu North Link will significantly improve safety and support economic growth and urban development. It will also contribute to improved access and a more sustainable transport system for western Bay of Plenty communities.
Takitimu North Link has been split into two phases:
- Stage One (Tauranga to Te Puna) will start construction, subject to property negotiations, late 2021. Stage One is a 6.8km four-lane expressway between Tauranga and Te Puna.
- The Government has decided route protection of Stage Two, a 7km extension between Te Puna and Ōmokoroa, will be progressed as part of the New Zealand Upgrade Programme. However, further work beyond route protection, including construction, will require funding through the National Land Transport Programme. This won’t occur within the next three years and is unlikely within the next 10 years.
The Takitimu North Link project is part of the Government’s New Zealand Upgrade Programme, which is a $6.8 billion investment to get our cities moving, to save lives and boost productivity in growth areas.
New Zealand Upgrade Programme
Transport planning in the Western Bay of Plenty is a key part of the region’s SmartGrowth strategy, and has a focus on eastern, northern, western and central corridors. This integrated transport network began with the completion of the Tauranga Eastern Link in 2015, and the New Zealand Upgrade Programme provides investment required for the northern corridor, through Takitimu North Link.
The alignment for the Takitimu North Link project is within the rohe of Ngāti Ranginui iwi, and includes the hapū of Pirirākau, Ngai Tamarawaho, Ngāti Hangarau, Ngāti Kahu, Ngāti Pango, and Ngāti Rangi. The largest area of this roading project is within the Pirirākau rohe.
The project name, Takitimu North Link, was gifted by hapū partnership group Te Paerangi and acknowledges the area’s cultural significance.
Takitimu recognises the connection to the waka that brought Tamatea Arikinui to Aotearoa, at Tirikawa, the base of Mauao, at the entrance of Tauranga Moana. The tohunga and navigator, Tamatea Arikinui, and some of his people settled in Tauranga and members of the six hapū can trace their whakapapa back to this ancestor.