Tauranga’s Ghost Motorway

Over the weekend I took a trip down to Paengaroa (about 30km east of Tauranga) to visit some family. After travelling through Tauranga, the fastest option for getting there is via only the second of the government’s Roads of National Significance to have been fully completed, the Tauranga Eastern Link (TEL) – the first was the Victoria Park tunnel. This wasn’t the first time I’ve driven over the road and as with previous times, I was struck with the emptiness of it. So, I thought I’d look a little closer at it. The TEL is a 21km, four lane motorway from Te Maunga in Tauranga (near BayPark stadium) through to the …
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Tauranga Eastern Link complete

Yesterday the Prime Minister John Key and Minister of Transport Simon Bridges officially opened just the second Roads of National Significance to be completed – the $455 million Tauranga Eastern Link. All up the project is 21km long from Te Maunga in Tauranga through to Paengaroa, bypassing Te Puke along the way although it doesn’t actually open to the public until Monday. The NZTA say it was one of the most technically challenging projects as due to the very soft soil conditions however it has been finished up to five months ahead of schedule Interestingly I was down just past Paengaroa last weekend visiting some family and so it would have actually …
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Portugal’s Ghost Roads

In the comments, “Handlebars Matt” provided a link to this video about how nobody is using Portugal’s motorway system – which was built at vast cost over the past decade: I often fear that this is the future for many of the Roads of National Significance that are either under construction or due to begin construction in the next few years. Particular candidates for incredibly low levels of use seem to be: Puhoi-Warkworth. Due to the new road not being much faster than what’s currently there, the Puhoi ramps providing a link between the existing Northern Gateway Road (which does provide a significant time saving) and the existing SH1 likely …
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Tauranga Eastern Link – another white elephant motorway?

NZTA were pleased to announce on Wednesday that they are making good progress on the “Tauranga Eastern Link” road, a Road of National Significance that we haven’t paid much attention to in the past. Given our general disdain of the justification for projects given this title (Victoria Park Tunnel and Waterview Connection excepted) I thought I’d look in a bit more detail around what the Tauranga Eastern Link road actually is – and whether it falls into the category of pointless and stupid RoNS (like Puhoi-Wellsford, parts of the Waikato Expressway and most of the Wellington Northern Corridor project) or more reasonable RoNS (like the aforementioned Auckland projects and perhaps …
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Tauranga Eastern Motorway to be tolled

Today the government and NZTA confirmed that one of the “roads of national significance”, the Tauranga Eastern Motorway, will be tolled to advance its construction. I don’t really know too much about this particular project, other than one of its major benefits will supposedly be “to stimulate development east of Tauranga”, which seems to mean “to enable urban sprawl”. In any case, here’s the media release: Construction of the Tauranga Eastern Link road of national significance will start up to 10 years earlier than previously possible following the Government’s approval for the route to be tolled, the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) confirmed today. NZTA Bay of Plenty Regional Director Harry …
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Tolling

It’s interesting to see that the NZTA board has recommended that the “Tauranga Eastern Link” road of National significance be “sped up” by having a toll applied. Here’s the press release in full: The NZ Transport Agency Board has recommended that tolling be progressed as a funding option for the Tauranga Eastern Link project. The Board’s recommendation means that a formal proposal to bring forward the start of construction on the $455 million project by tolling one section of the road can now be submitted to the Minister of Transport. After discussions with Cabinet, the Minister will then decide whether to recommend to the Governor General that an Order in …
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