Welcome Bay welcomes new underpass

The underpass connects Welcome Bay Road to the Turret Road causeway and has been a work in progress for more than two years. Video and photos: Bruce Barnard.

Click the image above to watch the video

If you haven’t already driven on it yourself, then it’s probably been the topic of your morning small talk – Welcome Bay is welcoming the new Maungatapu underpass.

Situated beneath the Maungatapu interchange, the two-lane 120 metre-long underpass connects Welcome Bay Road to the Turret Road causeway and includes a new bridge over the Kaitemako Stream.

The entire project has been a work in progress for more than two years and hopes to ensure at least one less traffic woe for commuters.

From behind the wheel of the SunLive Holden Spark, and accompanied by SunLive photographer Bruce Barnard in the passenger seat, I got to experience how it feels to drive on the new stretch of road – which opened to motorists today.

The entire round trip from Sun Media’s offices at 1 The Strand Tauranga to Bruce’s home in Welcome Bay, and back, took just under 30 minutes which is pretty good going in my opinion.

Weekend Sun journalist Kerry Mitchell, another Welcome Bay local, says while she didn’t use the underpass herself – she did notice a significant drop in traffic in Welcome Bay this morning.

As someone who lives and commutes daily from Whakatane, and who seldom frequents Welcome Bay, I’ll be the first to say trying to navigate my way around the Maungatapu Interchange has always been a challenge.

Needless to say the first thought I had when driving on the new underpass was just how easier it is to use and how much less lane switching there was to do, so I’m glad for out-of-towner drivers like me there’s a more seamless way to get to Welcome Bay from the city.

If you haven’t already been on the stretch of road, I encourage you to give it a go over the next few days and see just how easy it is.

Did you use the Maungatapu underpass today?
Did it improve your trip or make it harder? Email your thoughts to sam@thesun.co.nz


5 Comments

@ dumbkof2....

Posted on 23-06-2018 12:49 | By groutby

.........you fair enough, there is a ’naked’ wall on the other side for just that isn’t there?...

Stop Sign

Posted on 23-06-2018 11:22 | By First Responder

Get rid of that temporary stop sign at Hairini St ASAP. Its a waste of time , and it dangerous.

underpass

Posted on 22-06-2018 18:18 | By dumbkof2

this piece of road is really great. the only thing that spoils it is that squiggle on the wall that means nothingto 85% of the population. would have been better to paint a mural depicting the early pioneers

Cycle it!

Posted on 22-06-2018 17:38 | By Lvdw

Hey Sam, Now I challenge you to cycle the new underpass...... both ways - out of Welcome Bay and into Welcome Bay, and you will see how difficult and unsafe it is for cyclists. I was under the impression it would be a better way for both cars and bicycles, but obviously not. I guess we will still need to use the ’up and over’ past the two sets of lights at the Hairini roundabout. One good thing though, it will be a lot quieter than before...

Two years?

Posted on 22-06-2018 14:20 | By CC8

Good on them for finally getting it done, and no reflection on the contractors, they have doen a fantastic job , working around the daily traffic. However the bureaucrats need a swift kick, they started the project in the 1970s, but they didn’t put the tunnel through because it would cost an extra $150,000. In the mean time they have built a bridge, two traffic Islands, paid some fool a ridiculous consultancy fee to install traffic lights, taken the main road out of Maungatapu, created a dozen new roads to a dozen new suburbs/sub divisions, and the cost of a tunnel has increased slightly. Finally the tunnel became cheaper than the alternative, i.e. facing the population at the polls,...real clever .

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