The government has announced new ‘Roads of National Significance' that will cost $10.5 billion to build – among them the Tauranga-Katikati section of State Highway 2.
Bay of Plenty MP Todd Muller says the infrastructure investment ‘will be a game changer for the Bay'.
He says the Tauranga-Katikati development, along with proposed improvements to State Highway 29 from Piarere to the foot of Kaimai Ranges, will ensure Tauranga maintains a strong connection to Katikati, Auckland and the Waikato.
“The new roads will offer road users a safer, more efficient route,” says Todd.
“Local communities and businesses, particularly our horticultural industry, are continuing to grow strongly along the Western Bay of Plenty's coastal peninsulas of Katikati, Omokoroa and Te Puna. Improvements to State Highway 2 between Tauranga and Katikati will support this growth and make vital improvements to one of New Zealand's fastest growing road corridors.”
He says Tauranga, Hamilton and Auckland are often referred to as the ‘Golden Triangle', a high volume freight route with around 9000 vehicles, including 1300 heavy vehicles, traveling over the Kaimai Range each day.
“As our economy continues to grow, it is forecast this number will only continue to grow. That's why we need to invest now, in a safer road with shorter drive times, which will represent the start of what will in time become the Hamilton to Tauranga Road of National Significance.”
These 10 new Roads of National Significance are expected to cost around $10.5 billion, on top of $12 billion invested in the initial seven, which are now either complete or under construction.
“The Roads of National Significance are lead infrastructure projects meaning we are investing now to encourage future economic growth, rather than waiting until the strain on the network becomes a handbrake on progress,” says Todd.