Politicians wrangle over highway

Transport Minister Phil Twyford says four laning SH2 was an election promise that was never budgeted

NZTA’s announcement to proceed with the Katikati bypass and associated safety improvements on SH2, has sparked words between Tauranga MP Simon Bridges and Transport Minister Phil Twyford.

Simon started it by labelling the long-awaited SH2 upgrade as ‘overly timid’.

“A job worth doing is a job worth doing right,” says Simon.

“National was going to four lane all the way through Katikati and the NZTA should take the opportunity to do this now. Smaller piecemeal safety improvements won’t cut it. Only one decent highway all the way will ensure the efficiency and safety our burgeoning population and freight needs.”

He’s concerned the plan is being scaled back so Phil can afford his urban projects in Auckland and Wellington.

“They have blown all the cash on tertiary education and free student fees, and then in terms of transport what they have got will be sucked into Auckland and Wellington for significant proposals they have got there,” says Simon.

Former Transportation Minister Simon Bridges.

“It’s a raw deal for the Bay of Plenty. We would have done much better under a National Government in terms of our transportation need.”

Transport Minister Phil Twyford says the Coalition Government hasn’t altered any existing projects, except Auckland’s East-West link.

“Four lanes on State Highway 2 from Waihi to Tauranga was an election promise from the National Party. It was a proposal, not an existing project and was never budgeted for,” says Phil.

“The National Party is being misleading to suggest the new Government would go ahead with a project that doesn’t exist.”

The NZTA announced on Monday that a new seven kilometre highway will be built between Omokoroa and Te Puna with a bypass at Katikati.

The programme will also see wide centrelines, side barriers and 26 intersection upgrades delivered between Waihi and Omokoroa from next year.

The community showed strong support for the options at open days earlier this year, says NZTA System Design Senior Manager, Brett Gliddon.

“We have spoken with the community and the priority here is to prevent people dying or being seriously injured along this stretch of road. That is why we have started work on interim safety improvements at key intersections.

“We will also be preparing for safety improvements such as wide centrelines and installing side barriers from next year and speaking more to the community about reducing the speed along State Highway 2.”


9 Comments

Alternative route

Posted on 14-12-2017 16:28 | By phoenix

Another proposal worth considering is the Thompsons Track to Te Aroha. Four wheel drives and motor bikes already travel through there, and would remove the need for a katikati By-Pass. It already has found favor with a number of trucking firms, and a much better gradient for heavy traffic, than over the Kaimais. Just saying.

Labour rolled by the Greens

Posted on 14-12-2017 14:48 | By Ron

Under National we got the TEL completed years ahead of time. The Waikato expressway is well underway. The plan to Katikati was underway -all while dealing with earthquakes repairs in Christchurch and Kaikoura. But Labour has forgotten the Bay of Plenty for their friends in the Prime Minister’s electorate.

Why would you believe Simon

Posted on 14-12-2017 13:38 | By waiknot

Simon Bridges has a track record of not actually doing as he says. So its bit rich having a go at others.

Suddenly...

Posted on 14-12-2017 13:00 | By Captain Sensible

Suddenly Simon cares about the WBOP after 9 years of not caring!!

head in hands

Posted on 14-12-2017 11:24 | By Nick220

Money should be spent on a kaimai tunnel. This is the best way to divert traffic north. Then there would be 80% less traffic on SH2

Squabbles

Posted on 14-12-2017 10:48 | By MISS ADVENTURE

The fact is that SH2 north of Tauranga is a "DEAD-END" road, limited totally by the gorge that can never be wider than now (extremely narrow). Wasting money on this road is stupid i.e. four-laning. Better to simply straighten it out and streamline the use of. Perhaps merit in four laning to Omokora but not beyond. A far more better/obvious plan would be to widen the Kaimais route SH29 to link up with the SH1 four laning. That route north has far more merit and benefits by linking Hamilton/Auckland in both rail and roads.

Do as I say, Not as I do

Posted on 14-12-2017 09:36 | By backofthequeue

Simon Bridges and National had nine years to do something about this increasingly important piece of State Highway and chose to look the other way. Saying great things would be done if only they were the government is about as meaningful as a past promise to four lane Turret Ave.

Katikati bypass

Posted on 14-12-2017 08:57 | By OAP

This is typical of the National Party and Simon Bridges. For years they have done nothing about it, and as soon as Labour gets things moving they are full of criticisms !!!

So why

Posted on 14-12-2017 08:08 | By Merlin

All this stuff from Simon when nothing much happened on this highway while he was in Government.What he did do though was deliver two toll roads for the Bay of Plenty while Auckland and Waikato have none.A proposal only Simon not even budgeted.Another election promise only.By the way have the 10 bridges promised for the Northland by election all been done yet.

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