It seems the traffic just keeps backing up

Straight from city council
A personal view,
by Councillor Steve Morris

It’s not often I take my 1957 Morris Oxford out during rush hour, but when I do, I’m filled with commuter anxiety.

It’s not the column shift, nor the drum brakes that worry me.

It’s the thought of breaking down on the Hewletts Road flyover in a sign-written car and being responsible for everyone being late!

It’s harder to get around today than it was five years ago, so what are we doing about it? What should we be doing about it and who should pay?

There are three big projects in Papamoa - the Te Okuroa Drive extension (opening February), the Domain Road upgrade (starting next year) and the Papamoa East Interchange (starting in 2021).

Together they are worth some $70m. The NZTA is completing the $120m Bayfair to Baypark link in 2020. We’re considering opening the Hewletts Road bus lanes to cars with more than three passengers, and we’re building separated cycleways at the Mount.

What else should we be doing? Government controls our State Highways and they aren’t giving NZTA the road funding they need. The intersection of Cambridge Road and State Highway 29 is appalling - it needed a roundabout ten years ago. The four-lanes for 15th Avenue/Turret Road/Bridge needs to be brought forward from 2026 by taking the budget for a $35m downtown library (we could upgrade the existing one).

Totara Street needs a flyover onto Hewletts Road too.

Compare the port traffic in Tauranga with other cities. Instead of subsidising rates for Rotorua, regional council should be using its share of our port’s wealth to help fund upgrades, or a targeted rate on the port that would enable them to pay a fairer share.

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