A turning of the sod ceremony this afternoon has marked the start of construction for the long-awaited Pāpāmoa East Interchange. An exciting milestone for the local community, who will be able to travel to and from Pāpāmoa East more easily, as well as a much-anticipated enabler of further development in the area. Construction is expected to conclude in early 2026.
Kaumatua from Te Kapu o Waitaha, Tapuika Iwi Authority, Ngā Pōtiki a Tamapohore Trust and Ngāti Whakaue ki Maketū, Tauranga City Council Commissioners and staff from Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Western Bay of Plenty District Council, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and contractors gathered today, to celebrate construction starting on the Pāpāmoa East Interchange.
Tauranga City Council Commission Chair, Anne Tolley, says this is a much anticipated project that will allow more housing to be built for a growing city.
“Tauranga’s coastal fringe is expected to grow significantly over the next 40 years, reaching up to 30,000 people by 2060. We need more dwellings to be built to keep up with that growth,” she says.
“This interchange will provide increased capacity and connectivity to support the traffic demands associated with the development of Pāpāmoa East.”
The Pāpāmoa East Interchange will be constructed over the Tauranga Eastern Link motorway (SH2), east of Wairakei neighbourhood, linking Te Okuroa Drive and future Golden Sands Town Centre to the motorway.
It will enable faster travel between neighbourhoods in Pāpāmoa East and Tauranga, Mount Maunganui and the wider region, including Te Puke, for people choosing to travel by car. It will also provide a connection to the Rangiuru Business Park once that is operational.
Tauranga City Council, General Manager Infrastructure, Nic Johansson emphasises what the interchange will mean for the existing community in Pāpāmoa East.
“This critical piece of infrastructure will change the dynamic for residents in the area. It’s our objective to connect people to the places they live, learn, work and play at less than 45 minutes travel time,” says Nic.
“The project has been long in the making, and I want to acknowledge the hard work and dedication from all those who have played a part in getting this project to the current stage.”
The first stage of construction will start mid-July 2022 and be completed in April 2023. This incorporates earthworks to construct the southern ramps on the Tauranga Eastern Link. Construction of the remainder of the interchange is scheduled to start mid-2023 and ready for use early 2026.
Stage one Pāpāmoa East Interchange construction includes:
- A nine metre high embankment – forming the westbound (Tauranga) exit and entry ramps of the interchange
- Installing three culverts, including one under the Tauranga Eastern Link
- Installing flexible safety barriers and widening the southern side of Tauranga Eastern Link
- Earthworks to build a stormwater retention pond, swales and connecting drains
Future stages of this project will see construction of an extension of Te Okuroa Drive, the interchange itself and the connection between Sands Avenue and Te Okuroa Drive.
Funding for this stage of the project is through the Housing Infrastructure Fund, which is currently going through final sign off. Partners in the agreement are Waka Kotahi and Tauranga City Council. Tauranga City Council will be seeking other funding opportunities to cover the costs of construction.