NZ Transport Agency

The NZ Transport Agency is responsible for providing, operating and maintaining a safe and reliable transport system.

State Highway 29 (SH29) is a key freight route that connects our region with Waikato, Auckland and the wider North Island. This route supports the economic success of the western Bay of Plenty. The Transport Agency is leading the transport plan to ensure that the transport system for Tauriko is safe, supports local growth, and provides alternative travel choices for the community.

The transport plan aims to:

  • provide more buses and improved walking and cycling connectivity to local amenities such as schools, businesses, recreation areas and culturally significant places
  • improve road safety and reduce deaths and serious injuries
  • maintain efficient freight access to the Port of Tauranga
  • ensure the right vehicles are using the right roads, with short local trips using local roads and longer distance trips using the state highway network.

How did we get here?

2010: The Transport Agency identified the need for improvements to be made to SH29 around the Tauriko area.

2011: Investigations for improvements to safety and trip efficiency on SH29 between Omanawa Road and Takitimu Drive Toll Road (Route K) identified three potential corridors for high-level investigation:

  • upgrading the existing corridor
  • a new northern alignment
  • a new southern alignment

2012: Plans were put on hold while the Transport Agency worked with partners to get a clearer understanding of residential and commercial growth in the area.

2013: SmartGrowth agreement to work closely with partners, stakeholders and developers to ensure the transport system is right for the future.

2015/2016: Interim safety improvements made at Tauriko – safe hit barriers, speed reduction around school drop off and pickup times.

2016/2017: The Transport Agency and partners investigated the wider Western Corridor transport network needed to support the future SmartGrowth Settlement Pattern and identified a preferred high-level programme.

2018: Improvements to access and parking at Tauriko School, including altered lane markings and a wider median on SH29 to improve safety.

Programmes considered

Eight corridor investment programmes (a strategic, high-level package of transport projects) were developed and tested. The programmes looked at public transport, local road connectivity, state highway improvements, and a southern and northern bypass of Tauriko.

After consultation with partners and stakeholders, and rigorous assessment, Programme 8 was selected for further development as part of the Transport Network Plan. Programme 8 was selected based on performance against the objectives, value for money and affordability, and the risks and opportunities associated with each programme.

Highlights of Programme 8 include:

  • optimised public transport service
  • better walking and cycling connections
  • improved local roads and local road connections
  • realignment of sections of SH29 and improved intersections to make the corridor safer
  • increasing capacity of SH29 in the longer term from Belk Road (SH29) to Poike Road (SH29A)

Developing the Tauriko Network Plan

The Transport Agency is currently working to identify the best solutions for the transport network in Tauranga’s Western Corridor.

Options are being developed to support the planned and sustainable development of Tauriko West, enhance people’s access to economic and social opportunities in the area, and also protect SH29’s strategic role as part of the Auckland-Hamilton-Tauranga national strategic freight route.

This has included working through a suite of walking, cycling, public transport, and local road and state highway opportunities. This is in addition to the short-term safety improvements.

Interim safety improvements

In parallel to work on the Tauriko Network Plan, the Transport Agency is developing safety and reliability improvements on SH29 and SH29A over the next one to three years. The areas being addressed are:

  • Barkes Corner (SH29A) – roundabout metering for approaching traffic on Pyes Pa Road and westbound on SH29A. Traffic lights will operate (go red) during the peak flow to regulate the flow of traffic onto the roundabout. Due to be operational in late September 2018
  • Cambridge Road intersection (SH29) – traffic lights
  • Belk Road intersection (SH29) – right turn bay is currently progressing through resource consent
  • Safe and appropriate speed limits from Barkes Corner (SH29A) to Omanawa Road (SH29)

Workshops with key stakeholders have looked at what can be achieved, and what the best short-term solutions would be.

What happens next?

We want you to be part of the process of ensuring we have a safe and resilient transport system that supports future growth and meets your needs.

We’ll come back to stakeholders and the public to help inform the development of the final recommended projects and timing of activity.

We will also share with you our thoughts on interim improvements which improve safety now, and which will provide necessary access to facilitate development of Tauriko West.

For more information on the network plans and an indication of the state highway corridor visit: www.nzta.govt.nz/tauriko.