Eastbound traffic exiting the planned 148-ha Rangiuru Business Park could end up being forced to use the old highway under proposals due to be heard by the Western Bay District Council next week.
A new option has been proposed to build a three-legged interchange with the Tauranga Eastern Link (TEL) instead of the approved four-legged interchange. It meant traffic leaving the business park and heading to Whakatane and Rotorua would be unable to use the new motorway.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council-owned Quayside Properties, which owned most of the land, sought planning changes to improve the financial viability of the project which was hit by the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 - the same year the business park got planning approval.
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The three-legged interchange was part of the review of the viability of the park by Quayside Properties, a subsidiary of the regional council's investment arm Quayside Holdings which holds a majority shareholding in the Port of Tauranga.
Opposition to putting eastbound traffic on to Te Puke Highway includes nearby Young Rd residents Mark and Brenda Archbold who described the plan as "dumbing down" and "short sighted".
"Do it once and do it right," they said.
The Archbolds said putting eastbound traffic on to Te Puke Highway would increase traffic volumes on Young Rd and Pah Rd, affect residents and create safety issues at the Pah Rd and Maketu Rd intersections
Quayside's application dealt mainly with the staging of development and infrastructure issues. Western Bay council's preamble to Plan Change 72 described how a series of geotechnical and engineering problems led to the planned TEL interchange being shifted to a more southerly location.
The council's planning report written by resource management manager Phillip Martelli said the plan change offered the option of a three-legged or four-legged interchange, with the option to be determined by the developer of the first subdivision in stage one.
Mr Martelli said it meant eastbound traffic would depart the business park via Young Rd and the Maketu Rd intersection to Te Puke Highway - formerly SH2.
Four submitters opposed the change to a three legged interchange. Mr Martelli's report backed the submitters, arguing that once all the roads had been upgraded to take the traffic generated by the three-legged option, the $2.8 million cost difference between the options dropped to about $500,000.