Papamoa's planned alternative arterial road Te Okuroa Drive will not be four-laned earlier than planned because of fears it could jeopardise hopes to bring forward construction of Papamoa East's $25 million interchange with the Tauranga Eastern Link.
The rapid pace of development at Papamoa East centred on Wairakei putting pressure on the council to start construction of the interchange earlier than the planned date of 2025.
Yesterday's meeting of the council was considering a request by developer Zariba Properties to spend an additional $1.4 million on four-laning Te Okuroa Drive from Parton Rd to the Boulevard.
But the council was persuaded that Te Okuroa Drive might not need to be four-laned when the interchange was built, with the added possibility that the four-laning threatened the case for substantial subsidies from the New Zealand Transport Agency.
The interchange was to be built between Wairakei and the planned Te Tumu subdivision, and would extend housing all the way to Kaituna River.
It would be adjacent to the Town Centre shopping development.
Council transport planning engineer Clare Cassidy said an analysis of peak traffic flows along Te Okuroa Drive with the Papamoa East interchange showed 850 to 950 vehicles per hour, compared with 1400 to 1600 vehicles per hour without the interchange. A two-lane urban road typically had a capacity of 1300 to 1500 vehicles per hour.
She said the council was investigating whether bringing forward construction of the interchange to access Wairakei and Te Tumu near Bell Rd could defer or remove the need to four-lane a number of roads. This included Te Okuroa Drive, Domain Rd and Girven Rd. "This work will enable the council to review the timing of all projects in this area."
Council strategic planner Andrew Mead said most of the four-laning might never be required once the interchange was built. They were anticipating a contribution from the NZTA for the $25 million interchange.
Councillor Steve Morris said he had been prepared to support four-laning the first portion of Te Okuroa Drive but it raised the issue that there would be less need for the interchange, with reduced funding by the agency pushing the project back even further. "Papamoa East Interchange is the highest priority."