Sonya is a social issues reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Huge traffic increase on electronic tolling roads

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When owned by the council, Route K averaged 5950 vehicles per day, now it has increased to 8650.
When owned by the council, Route K averaged 5950 vehicles per day, now it has increased to 8650.

Forty-five per cent more cars are using the former Route K toll road since an electronic gantry was installed last year.

And the number of people travelling on the Tauranga Eastern Link has gone up 35 per cent since it opened, the New Zealand Transport Agency says.

It has made it so much easier for people. You don't have to fish around for a coin and can set up an account.
Simon Bridges, Tauranga MP

The transport agency took over ownership of Route K from Tauranga City Council in August last year, when it was renamed the Takitimu Drive Toll Rd.

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The introduction of an electronic toll gantry at this time, replacing the coin payment booths, had seen a 45 per cent increase in the number of users of the road. When owned by the council, Route K averaged 5950 vehicles per day, which had increased to 8650.

On the Takitimu Drive Toll Road, the busiest days were Wednesday, Thursdays and Fridays with an average 10,300 vehicles using the road each day, increasing from an average of 6500.

When the new Tauranga Eastern Link road was opened to the public in August last year, an average 6400 were using the road daily. Seven months later, this had gone up to 8700 vehicles a day, an increase of 35 per cent.

The busiest day on the TEL was Friday, when an average of 10,200 vehicles used the road.

Transport agency acting Bay of Plenty highways manager Chris Young said the TEL was one of the best roads in New Zealand.

"It's extremely safe and saves time, so it is no surprise that people are choosing to use it. We are excited by the high number of vehicles per day - around 8700 - and we expect the numbers of travellers using the TEL to continue growing, especially with the predicted population boom that is expected in Papamoa."

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Mr Young said the increase in people using the Takitimu Drive Toll Road was also pleasing.

Tauranga Mayor Stuart Crosby said the increasing use of the two roads was good because it meant less congestion on alternative roads.

"Our natural growth and strength of our economy at the moment, I'm sure, would be adding to those figures.

"I think the electronic tolling has made it more user friendly. We've got our three cars registered on there which is just so easy now."

Mr Crosby said the council had been working with the transport agency on a TEL interchange with the planned new Papamoa town centre and the development of Te Okuroa Drive.

Tauranga MP and Transport Minister Simon Bridges said the increasing numbers showed what a difference good roads could make in helping people get around.

"It has made it so much easier for people. You don't have to fish around for a coin and can set up an account."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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