Construction of Stage 2 of the Takitimu North Link is unlikely to progress in the next decade, the Government has announced.
However, construction of Stage 1, a 6.8km four-lane expressway between Tauranga and Te Puna, will start later this year.
Infrastructure Minister Grant Robertson and Transport Minister Michael Wood announced today changes to six projects of the NZ Upgrade Programme citing a desire to "meet climate change and housing objectives, as well as manage debt responsibly following Covid-19".
Route protection of Stage 2 of the project, a 7km extension between Te Puna and Ōmokoroa, will progress as part of the New Zealand Upgrade Programme, however, further work beyond route protection, including construction, will require funding through the National Land Transport Programme.
"This won't occur within the next three years and is unlikely within the next 10 years," they said.
Robertson said Covid-19 had increased construction costs around the world, and they had done the work upfront to understand the impact on NZUP projects which were announced pre-pandemic.
"Fully funding the new estimated costs for every project would have cost up to $6 billion extra on top of the original $6.8b, so instead we've taken a balanced approach with a mix of additional investment and a handful of projects being re-scoped while also keeping a lid on debt.
Wood said in light of the increased costs and climate commitments, it was important to take another look at the programme.
"Recognising the need to decarbonise our transport system, we're rebalancing the package to increase investment in rail, public transport and walking and cycling."
$655m has been allocated to Stage 1 of the Takitimu North Link project with Waka Kotahi awarding construction contracts to Fulton Hogan and HEB.
The Government expects 350 to 400 people will work on Takitimu North Link stage one project at its peak of construction.
Takitimu North Link Stage One (between SH29 and SH2 near Te Puna):
• new 6.8km four-lane corridor
• use of two lanes to prioritise public transport, freight and vehicles carrying multiple people
• new 6.8km separated walking and cycling path
• new bridge crossing at Wairoa River
• overbridge interchange at Minden Rd
• underpasses at Cambridge Rd and Wairoa Rd
• new westbound single lane connection from Fifteenth Ave to Takitimu Drive Toll Road
• northbound flyover and southbound bypass lane at the SH29 interconnection/interface.
Takitimu North Link Stage Two (between SH2 Te Puna and Ōmokoroa):
Route protection of:
• new 7km four lane corridor
• new 7km separated shared path.
Now: Stage One design and construction
preparatory activities, including
Now: Stage Two route protection.
Late 2021: Lodge Stage Two consents.
Late 2021: Stage One construction start, subject to
2026: Stage One construction complete.
Stage One has been allocated $655m. Costs will continue to be refined.
Waka Kotahi said the Takitimu North Link project will support urban growth in the Western Bay of Plenty and is a key part of the region's connected centres programme developed by the Urban Form and Transport Initiative.
State Highway 2 is a busy highway with a poor safety record and the pressures of this have been felt in this community for some time, Waka Kotahi system design national manager Robyn Elston said.
"This section of state highway between Waihī and Tauranga has developed into a busy commuter and freight route as well as an important tourist link for the northern Bay of Plenty and Coromandel Peninsula.
"It is also one of New Zealand's highest-risk rural roads."
Western Bay of Plenty communities were projected to grow by 16,000 people in the next 20 years, with traffic crossing the Wairoa Bridge increasing from 20,000 to more than 30,000 daily by 2031.