A congestion-easing link road which has sat on planning maps for nearly 40 years is expected to finally open by next January.

It will offer a much needed alternative access into Papamoa and parts of Arataki via the Mangatawa Interchange and Sandhurst Drive.

Papamoa resident and retired surveyor David Holland has welcomed progress on the project which he said would remove a great deal of congestion at a number of pressure points such as the intersection of State Highway 2 and Domain Rd, and the Maunganui Rd/Girven Rd roundabout. It will also open up another access for motorists coming from Maungatapu who were previously restricted to Girven Rd and Domain Rd.

Mr Holland said another bonus would be improving traffic management for Baypark stadium by opening a direct link to Papamoa via the Mangatawa overbridge and offering a more direct link to the stadium for sports fans from Te Puke.


"It will be a lot quicker for everyone living east and south. It will improve traffic management no end."

He said the council had planned to spend $2.3 million on the Sandhurst Drive extension through to the Mangatawa Interchange, including the cost of building a 2m diameter stormwater pipeline.

He recalled that when he moved to Tauranga nearly 40 years ago, the link between SH2 and Maranui St had already been designated on council plans. "It's great to finally have it constructed some 40 years later."

The council said in a letter to Mr Holland that construction of Sandhurst Drive extension would include a connection with Gloucester Rd east and "hopefully" Grenada St east.

The Mangatawa Interchange was part of the $455 million Eastern Link from Te Maunga to Paengaroa due to be finished by the end of 2015.