An issue that has raised major concern for many Tauranga residents is the removal of the Bayfair underpass. I am a Mount resident and live just down the road from Bayfair. I was shocked, along with many local residents, when the NZTA announced that it would need to spend $33m to include an underpass in the B2B development and I struggled to understand why it would cost so much.
I have spoken with the Minister and recently met with the NZTA Regional Director, to get some clarity and update on the situation. According to the NZTA, the underpass was not accounted for in the original plans for building the flyover. This was an oversight from the previous government. The NZTA has since looked at ways of including an underpass in the developments, but due to complex engineering issues with the land, it has proven to be far too expensive.
However, the NZTA has ring fenced $13m to implement a better solution. This money will be used to replace the old underpass with two new access points that will allow pedestrians and cyclists to cross with ease. There will be a new overbridge built 400m from the current underpass, along with a new set of pedestrian controlled traffic lights.
This is an inherited issue that this current government is committed to resolving. After speaking with the Regional Director and the Transport Minister I feel that the NZTA’s plans are an adequate solution to meet the needs of all the public. I will be keeping a close eye on this issue, I will be receiving regular updates as it unfolds and will keep the community abreast of any changes.