SunLive         

Five years ago, the Tauranga Eastern Link opened; boasting a 10km long, $600,000 cycleway between Paengaroa and Papamoa. However, the cycleway ended at a farm fence over a kilometre from Papamoa, which was a bit of a downer for anyone wanting to ride to the beach!

It was criticised at the time, but it was cost-effective, forward planning. Putting the cycleway in at the same time as the road saved money. Now recreational cyclists can rejoice; the cycleway has just been connected so you can ride from Tauranga to Okere Falls via Paengaroa or at least do the route, in reverse, downhill!

The cycleway was completed as part of the stormwater works for the Papamoa East Interchange which is now scheduled to start in 2022. Unlike the cycleway, this important piece of infrastructure wasn’t built at the same time as the Tauranga Eastern Link and has been criticised by locals ever since.

The interchange, connecting roads and stormwater works is estimated to cost $40m and are Tauranga City Council’s responsibility. We tried to get NZTA to consider allowing a roundabout in the interim, but they weren’t having a bar of anything that’d slow traffic on the new motorway. We asked about a left in/left out road but again they wouldn’t allow anything other than a fully grade-separated interchange.

In 2018, NZTA announced that when the interchange is built it would be tolled. I’ll be pushing against this because if ratepayers are paying for the infrastructure, they shouldn’t have to pay for it twice through a toll.

Straight from city council
A personal view,
by Councillor Steve Morris