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“Death trap” highway improvement delays concerning

The delay includes the SH2/ Ōmokoroa Road Intersection Safety Project component. File photo.

The decision to delay the Takitimu North Link Stage Two is not sitting well with the Regional Council, with one councillor calling SH2 a "death trap".

Concerns and regrets are being expressed to Transport Minister Michael Wood following the Government’s decision to delay the timing of the delivery of the Takitimu North Link Stage Two.

In a letter to the Minister, Bay of Plenty mayors and Regional Transport Committee member strongly urge him to reconsider the decision to defer TNL Stage Two, particularly the SH2/ Ōmokoroa Road Intersection Safety Project component, and allocate funding to ensure that the critical safety project is delivered in full - as per the original intent of the NZ Upgrade Programme.

Committee Chairman Lyall Thurston says as a result of this change, they have updated the Regional Land Transport Plan.

“We anticipate a future variation to the RLTP will be needed.”

He says given the concern of the impact of the TNL, the project is included in the RLTP as part of the development of the programme and in the list of activities in the programme (unfunded and unprioritised).

“As the roading north and south of this intersection is improved, there is a heightened risk that the SH2/Ōmokoroa Rd intersection stretch will become an even greater accident blackspot than it already is.

“I do believe the current highway is a death trap to be avoided and motorists play roulette with their lives daily.”

As part of the SH2 Waihī to Tauranga safety improvements, the SH2/Omokoroa Rd Intersection was previously a priority project in the region’s land transport plans.

“Prior to the current safety works progressing, the notorious stretch of road from Katikati to Tauranga recorded 18 deaths, 35 serious injuries and 95 minor injuries in the five years from 2012 – 2016, giving it the status at the time of New Zealand's most dangerous state highway,” says Thurston.

The Committee is seeking urgent consideration of National Land Transport Fund funding, or other, for the Ōmokoroa Interchange, and if possible the four-laning of the Te Puna to Omokoroa part of the TNL Stage Two.

Committee Chairman Lyall Thurston. Supplied photo.

Thurston says the TNL Stage Two link is one of the last major requirements for future-proofing the Tauranga network, including carbon reduction, and the safe efficient movement of freight and people as it would reduce carbon and make moving freight and people more safe and efficient.

“An interchange overbridge at the intersection with Ōmokoroa Road is required to take local traffic safety on to and over the State highway. Consideration of the treatment of all intersections between Ōmokoroa and Te Puna is urgently required to avoid or mitigate any adverse impacts of the planned growth of Ōmokoroa peninsula.” he says.

The Te Puna North stretch of SH2 currently carries around 22,000 vehicles daily.

Around 8000 of those vehicles join at the State Highway 2/Omokoroa Road intersection, where the Western Bay of Plenty District Council is in the final stages of opening up Stage 3 of the Ōmokoroa peninsula.

This will enable a further 3000 houses to be built to meet the Government’s urgent need for additional housing.

Development at Ōmokoroa is signalled in the western Bay of Plenty Urban Form and Transport Initiative, to which the Government is a signatory, through Waka Kotahi.

 

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Comparisons

Posted on 11-07-2021 14:35 | By

Prior to the building of the Te Puke bypass, the town itself while having its transport problems either side of it, did not have the problems that Bethlehem, Te Puna and Katikati have, nor did they have a problem similar to SH2 from Bethlem to Waihi - yet the bypass was built. I often wonder whether the bypass was built more for the convenience of coaches from the cruise ships, delivering visitors to Rotorua and Whakatane, than then traffic through Te Puke presented. From the cruise-passenger’s point of view there is nothing of any major interest north of Tauranga - hence no bypass/expressway. Any other thoughts folks.

@Peanuts9

Posted on 07-07-2021 15:42 | By morepork

You are correct that, ultimately, driving IS down to the driver, but that is no excuse for blind intersections onto an arterial road, and lack of facilities to handle the increasing amount of traffic. Sometimes bad driving is precipitated by impatience and being stationary in a queue for long periods of time. I had an impatient queued driver simply decide to move into my lane without signaling and I honked. His response was to give me the finger, but then he was stuck at lights and so I decided to have a chat with him... I calmly explained that his gesture did nothing to calm people’s tempers and was an unnecessary contributing factor to road rage. He cowered a bit, expecting me to hit him (I never would, unless he threatened me first). I told him that, had he indicated, I would’ve let him go ahead. He eventually apologized.

Oh dear

Posted on 07-07-2021 13:21 | By

A death trap? Only by ignorant motorists. In Tauranga, we have plenty of those who blame the road. Learn to drive properly, stop being so impatient and stop thinking you are more important than anyone else.

Don't blame Labour

Posted on 06-07-2021 19:46 | By

Tauranga has been a National stronghold since 1938 & National were in power from 2008 until 2017. What’s that done for us? Nothing! The deplorable state of our roading system didn’t happen overnight, it’s taken decades of apathy from citizens and neglect from our "leaders". No, don’t blame Labour, or the Greens, or the Internet Party. Its the whole frigging lot of them including the zealots in LTSA (or whatever they call themselves now). Faceless government bureaucrats in their echo chambers who hate cars & won’t be happy until we’re all riding bicycles in the rain. Every few years they’ll commission a flyover of bypass to make it seem they’re doing something, to give the illusion of progress. You may as well give up, things will NEVER change.

Invitation

Posted on 06-07-2021 17:02 | By

To date the longest wait to leave Omokoroa Road to travel North is 11 mins (which is exceptional) no doubt caused by the traffic from Katikati and the and industrial traffic from the South, entering Omokoroa Road. Perhaps out two MPs Simon and Todd with Lyall Thurston should cordially invite the Transport Minster (misuse of both terms) to make the journey on any working day from Omokoroa to Tauranga and enjoy the walking place journey from Te Puna or as often just north of Te Puna. The Greens should also baulk at volumonous amount toxic gases emitted by the queues of cars on SH2.

Our local Liebour list MP

Posted on 06-07-2021 14:46 | By If only

has been silent on this debacle. Jan Tinetti what are your views on the cop out by your colleagues around this and other transport twist and turns. Stand up and do something !

I agree...

Posted on 06-07-2021 13:22 | By morepork

...with Yadick, The Professor, Let’s Get Real, and, probably, anyone who has to drive this highway regularly. It is shocking. I remember when the "Omokora turnoff" was always a place to be approached with your wits very much about you, but since then the volume of traffic has more than doubled and that is just ONE bad intersection on SH 29. Things like safety should not be political; WHATEVER Government is in power should be addressing these issues as was promised. I hope National can get their act together to be an effective Opposition with a chance to replace this sad and destructive Government at the next election.

Second cancellation by Labour

Posted on 06-07-2021 12:05 | By

This is the second cancellation by Labour ! So 22k people daily are not a priority when compared to at best 1-2k people cycling over the bridge in Auckland. Each death should be handed directly to Labour.

Pathetic Labour decision making

Posted on 06-07-2021 10:29 | By

The cynic in me wonders if Labour has given up on gaining any seats in the Bay of Plenty but is happy to fund the ridiculous Green initiatives such as a $785 Million dollar cycle path over the Auckland harbour. Saving lives doesn’t appear to be a priority for the Red/Green alliance...

Who Cares

Posted on 06-07-2021 09:38 | By

Not the Government that’s for sure. How many more lives have to be needlessly taken, how many more families have to be destroyed before the Government decides to swallow their pride in do something of substance in the National held electorate. That road is an utter disgrace as a result of Labor. I totally agree with the The Professor and his comment. At the end of the day drivers should be in control but contributing factors toward accidents is Labors responsibility and they are blatantly negligent in this area. Who cares? - actually Jacinda, WE DO because it’s our lives and the lives of our loved ones and the lives of our friends we haven’t met yet. It’s about time you cared.

Protest

Posted on 06-07-2021 07:35 | By

There are a couple of ways that the residents and the Council can address this. Firstly, the residents should refuse to pay their rates. The Courts can’t put thousands of us in prison for refusing to pay them. Secondly, the Council should be telling the Government that they refuse to release more land to assist the Government in meeting their housing target UNTIL the TNL is started and until the Omokoroa intersection is sorted. Government don’t give a stuff about us because the spelling of Omokoroa isn’t A-U-C-K-L-A-N-D. Time for serious action Omokoroa!!!