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Here are questions and answers about the Tauranga Eastern Link. If your question is not answered here, please contact us at taurangaeasternlink@nzta.govt.nz

On this page:

1. Route information
2. Construction
3. Traffic management
4. Maintenance of existing roads
5. Enquiries and contact details
6. Lighting
7. Bridge clearances
8. Tolling
9. Access on/off the highway upon completion
10. Predicted traffic volumes
11. Pedestrian and cycle access
12. Accident and emergency access
13. Construction – other projects
 
1. Route information

Where does the road go?

The Tauranga Eastern Link will begin at Te Maunga in Tauranga (near BayPark stadium) and follow the existing State Highway 2 to the Domain Road roundabout at Papamoa. It then leaves the current state highway route and crosses rural land parallel to Tara Road across Parton Road and along the sand hills to the Kaituna River at the end of Bell Road. At this point the highway crosses the river and carries on past the Kaituna Wildlife Management Reserve. It heads south east across dairy farms and orchard blocks before rising up over the railway line to join the existing junction of State Highways 2 and 33 (the Rotorua and Whakatane highways) at Paengaroa.

View the project in 3D by watching the Tauranga Eastern Link animation.

How much time will it take off the trip between Te Maunga and Paengaroa?

Once complete it may save up to twelve minutes travel time from Te Maunga to Paengaroa or up to 24 minutes on a return journey.

Is it a bypass of Te Puke?

Essentially yes, it is predicted to take a lot of heavy traffic and vehicles travelling through the region out of the main streets of Te Puke and Waitangi.

How can removing all the traffic be good for Te Puke?

It will not remove all the traffic from Te Puke, but it will remove heavy traffic and vehicles travelling to other destinations. The Tauranga Eastern Link is also a catalyst for significant growth in the area east of Papamoa and Te Puke – Paengaroa is predicted to grow as a result.

How does the Tauranga Eastern Link support economic and social outcomes?

Completion of the Eastern Link will bring significant economic and social benefits to the community and to road users. These include:

  • A more direct alternative to State Highway 2 and improve access to the Port of Tauranga which could result in increased productivity for regional and national freight traffic.
  • A safer and more direct route for vehicles travelling between Tauranga and Paengaroa routing heavy traffic away from Te Puke and the existing state highway.
  • Essential access and connectivity for new residential, commercial and industrial development areas to the east of Tauranga. The new suburb of Papamoa East will have both state highway and local road access to ensure, as far as possible, that neither option is congested with too many cars. In other words creating a balanced road network.

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2. Construction 

Whose project is it and how much is it?

The Tauranga Eastern Link is a NZ Transport Agency (Transport Agency) state highway project and is expected to cost $455 million at today's prices (2010). It is supported by Tauranga City Council, Western Bay of Plenty District Council and the Bay of Plenty Regional Council.

Who is constructing the Tauranga Eastern Link?

The Tauranga Eastern Link is being constructed by a construction alliance that has been formed by Fulton Hogan and Heb Construction. Working for the Fulton Hogan-HEB Construction Alliance is a team of expert design consultants from URS, Opus International, Peters & Cheung and Bartley Consultants.

When will the Tauranga Eastern Link be finished?

Construction is expected to take between five and six years, depending on soil and weather conditions. All going well, it will open to traffic in 2016. Join our mailing list (external link) to receive construction updates.

When will the Papamoa East interchange be built?

Construction of the interchange is dependent on the growth of the future Papamoa East residential development, anticipated to be 2025-2030.

When will the Rangiuru interchange be built?

Construction is linked to the development of the Rangiuru Business Park and the start time is yet to be determined.

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3. Traffic management

Will there be any changes to traffic conditions during construction?

For the safety of motorists and construction workers, changes to traffic conditions are required during construction of the Tauranga Eastern Link when working on or near State Highway 2 from Te Maunga to Domain Road. Transport Agency and the Fulton Hogan-HEB Construction Alliance will be working hard to minimise any disruption.

How will I find out about changes to traffic conditions?

Advance notice will be provided via weekly traffic updates, traffic reports, variable message signs and advertising where appropriate. Join our mailing list (external link) to receive weekly traffic reports.

Will speed limits be reduced in construction zones?

Yes. Where construction works are taking place close to, or on the state highway, or connecting roads and interchanges, the speed limit will be reduced to maintain safety for motorists and workers. Where required, other safety measures, such as temporary lights, will also be installed.

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4. Maintenance of existing roads

What is the plan for the current State Highway 2 when this road is built?

Transport Agency and Western Bay of Plenty Council are currently working on a detailed study examining the future form and function of the existing State Highway 2. This study will assess the type of traffic that will use the road, and how the road should be managed and maintained in the future.

Who has responsibility for the maintenance of local roads with the additional trucks coming from the quarries?

The Fulton Hogan-HEB Construction Alliance has been given access to use a number of roads and is contracted to provide the maintenance on them throughout the duration of the contract.

Who do I contact if road maintenance is not being done?

As per normal, if you have any concerns about maintenance on local roads please contact the appropriate Council. Tauranga City Council 07 577 7000, Western Bay of Plenty District Council 0800 WBOPDC - 0800 926 732.

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5. Enquiries and contact details

Who do I call if I have an enquiry or concern?

For project enquiries please phone 0800 TEL INFO (0800 835 463).

Where can I get more information?

More information is available on this website, phoning 0800 TEL INFO (0800 835 463), or at the visitor information centre, Tara Road, Papamoa (opening early 2011).

You can also join our mailing list (external link) to receive construction and traffic updates.

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6. Lighting

Why is the whole highway lit?

Street lighting increases visibility, thus increasing road safety for road users.

Lighting is required on the Tauranga Eastern Link interchanges and toll gantry, including the interchanges proposed at Rangiuru and Papamoa East. With this in mind, the majority of the highway will be lit, or have light spill from neighbouring residential areas. To improve the visual capabilities of the driver, and reduce the continuous light to dark transitions, the whole route will be lit.

Street lighting also improves the driver's ability to detect roadway hazards, reduces contrast between headlight glare and the surrounding environment - preventing loss of visual clarity from contrast adaptation.

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7. Bridge clearances

What will the height of the bridges be?

The minimum vertical clearance to bridge structures over the Tauranga Eastern link will be 5.5 metres, except where no alternative route for over dimensional vehicles is provided for. Then the minimum will be 6.1 metres.

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8. Tolling

What's the benefit of tolling for this project?

The benefit of the tolling is that it allows us to bring construction forward so it can start in 2011. Without tolling construction would most likely start in five to 10 years time.

Will the whole road be tolled?

No, the section from Te Maunga to Domain Road will be an upgrade of the existing two-lane road to a four-lane highway and will not be tolled. The new section from Domain Road intersection to Paengaroa will be tolled.

What does the toll pay for?

The toll will help pay for the new section of the Eastern Link that starts at Domain Road, Papamoa and finishes at Paengaroa.

How much will the toll cost?

It is envisaged that at opening, the toll would be a maximum of $2 for cars, motorcycles and light vehicles and $5 for larger vehicles and trucks (all at 2008 dollars subject to inflation until opening).

Will the toll increase over time?

The toll charge will be increased at the rate of inflation (CPI) using a base date of 2008 dollars.

How long will the road be tolled?

The toll needs to raise enough money to repay the debt and interest charges. As soon as these are repaid, the tolls will be removed. This is anticipated to be a maximum of 35 years after opening.

How will the toll be collected?

In January 2009 the Transport Agency opened its first fully electronic toll collection system on the Northern Gateway toll road north of Auckland. We propose using a similar system on the Eastern Link. As collection methods and technology are always evolving, a final evaluation of the system will be made closer to the road opening.

View the 3D tolling animation and see how free flow tolling works.

Where is the toll gantry?

The toll collection point will be between the proposed Papamoa East interchange and the future Rangiuru Business Park.

Will there be toll booths for us to stop and pay tolls?

No. The Tauranga Eastern Link will use a free-flow tolling system so road users will be able to travel the 23km journey without having to stop or slow down to pay a toll. We decided to develop a free-flow electronic toll system because:

  • It provides the easiest, most convenient and greatest time savings for customers and is consistent with the convenience and time saving benefits that the road itself provides.
  • There are environmental and safety benefits of free-flow traffic compared with requiring traffic to stop to pay at toll at a booth.
  • Internationally, the trend is to move to free-flow electronic collection and centralised collection processes.
  • A centrally managed electronic collection system allows the greatest opportunity for capital investment and fixed operation costs to be spread over more projects.
  • Our focus is to continue improving the toll payment options to make paying a toll easy. Details of the toll collection system and payment methods will be available closer to opening.

What if I don't want to pay a toll?

A free alternative route must be available for those road users who do not wish to pay a toll. The existing state highway route through Te Puke would be the non-tolled free alternative.

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9. Access on/off the highway upon completion

How do I get on/off the Tauranga Eastern Link?

The entry and exits include: Te Maunga roundabout, Mangatawa interchange, Bruce Road (left in/out only), Kairua Road (left in/out only), Domain Road interchange and Paengaroa. There is no access on/off the highway from Domain Road through to Paengaroa. Future access will be at Papamoa East (construction proposed 2025-2030) and Rangiuru (construction date yet to be determined).

How do I access the Tauranga Eastern Link from Papamoa?

Papamoa residents will access the Tauranga Eastern Link via the Domain Road interchange. There will be no access on or off the new highway between Domain Road to Paengaroa.

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10. Predicted traffic volumes

What are the predicted traffic volumes?

The following data shows the predicted AADT = average annual daily traffic volume.

Location

2006

2016

2031

Te Puke North, SH2

21,000

21,800

24,200

Tauranga Eastern Link

0

8,600

21,200

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11. Pedestrian and cycle access

Will the Tauranga Eastern Link include provision for cyclists and pedestrians?

The Tauranga Eastern Link will be a four lane highway and for pedestrian, cyclist and motorist safety there will be no cycling lanes on the state highway. However the Tauranga Eastern Link will provide connections to existing and future local road networks, in the following locations:

Te Maunga to Eversham Road

Pedestrian and cycle connections into local road network via the new residential service lane that runs parallel to State Highway 2. There will be a mixture of shared paths, footpaths and on-road cycling.

Mangatawa interchange

This intersection will allow for connections from Mangatawa to the coast. There will be shared paths within this area and on-road cycling along Sandhurst Drive.

Domain Road

Pedestrian and cycle access on the shoulders of local roads will link to the local road network.

Shared paths through the interchange will revert to footpaths and on-road cycling upon connecting to local roads (eg Tara and Parton Roads).

This large interchange will provide refuges at all points where pedestrians and cyclists move against vehicle traffic.

Future Papamoa East interchange – Te Tumu Road

There will be a shared path linking Papamoa East to Rangiuru, it will be approximately 5.6km long and elevated, supporting recreational cycling and the enjoyment of views of the Kaituna River and surrounding area. There will be access to the Kaituna River bank via a service road. Future connections have been considered to the Rangiuru Business Park and local road network.

For more information take a look at the Tauranga Eastern Link Urban and Landscape Design Framework – Section E: Shared Paths (PDF, 1.79MB).

Who has been involved in the development of the new pedestrian and cycle path?

The pedestrian and cycle paths have been developed to in conjunction with the SmartGrowth principles – enabling links beyond the Tauranga Eastern Link, providing for recreation and commuting, and maintaining a safe connection to local communities and road networks.

How will the pedestrian and cycle path link with other cycle networks?

The location of the pedestrian and cycle paths have been selected so that they can link with existing and future local road networks.

Will cyclists and pedestrians be affected by the construction works?

There will be some disruption along State Highway 2, however, weekly traffic updates will be provided to minimise the impact.

Join our mailing list (external link) to receive weekly traffic reports.

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12. Accident and emergency access

What happens if there is an accident which blocks traffic flow in one direction?

The lanes are separated by a wire rope barrier which is demountable. In the event of an accident it takes 10 to 15 minutes to drop the ropes so emergency vehicles can get to the opposite side of the highway.

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13. Construction - related or nearby projects

Maunganui/Girven Road (Bayfair) roundabout

This project is currently under investigation. The investigation includes surveying and modelling current and predicted volumes of traffic, consulting with road users and residents, undertaking geotechnical testing, examining crash data records, and assessing the potential social and environmental impacts of any upgrade.

Under consideration are all previously-identified options, including a signalised roundabout and a two or four lane fly-over. This investigation includes identifying the preferred option and involves developing a design to the point where a reliable construction cost can be determined.

The preferred option is due to be identified in late 2011.

Tara Road

This is a Tauranga City Council project. Information about this project and other associated works can be found at the Tauranga City Council website (external link) .

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