For decades they've pleaded for a bypass – and now the Katikati community is going to get one.
The New Zealand Transport Agency has completed an assessment of the Katikati town centre and concluded a bypass will be added to the State Highway 2 Waihi to Tauranga programme.
Since the $520 million Waihi to Tauranga programme was announced by Transport Minister Simon Bridges in April 2016, further investigations have been undertaken to develop detailed solutions along the corridor, including for Katikati.
NZTA Central North Island regional relationships director Parekawhia McLean says the new information has shown the number of vehicles using the road is growing much faster than expected.
“Over the last few years we've seen strong growth in traffic volumes, with the number of vehicles on the road in 2016 increasing by over six per cent near Katikati and over 12 per cent between Omokoroa and Tauranga.
“While further work will be required to determine the best route for a bypass and the timing for design and construction, it's clear that removing the state highway from the town centre will keep people safe, continue to improve reliability for locals and tourists and improve access to Katikati.”
As well as safety works planned for the road between Omokoroa and Te Puna, the agency will also look to bring forward other improvementsto support economic growth and development.”
Parekawhia says the agency expects to be in a position to provide the community with more information on the timing, possible form and indicative cost of the bypass later this year.
“There's still a lot of work to be done and we'll keep the community fully informed as we progress.”
Public open days on the SH2 Waihi to Tauranga programme will be held later this month.
The Government's long term goal for the State Highway 2 corridor between Waihi and Tauranga is to reduce death and serious injury, support economic growth, and improve journey predictability.
Simon says today's announcement is a significant one.
“This is a significant transport investment for the wider Bay of Plenty region. I'm pleased that the particular concerns of the Katikati community are being taken on board as we work to improve safety and increase economic growth in the region,.
“While the Transport Agency will need to undertake further work to finalise the details, they are committed to removing state highway traffic from the town centre to keep people safe and improve access to Katikati.
“The investment being made through this programme will transform State Highway 2 between Tauranga and Waihi, including significant safety improvements which will reduce fatal and serious injury crashes on the route, while at the same time reducing congestion and supporting strong growth along the route.
"This will make a noticeable difference for motorists and ease freight movement," says Simon.