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The Pāpāmoa East Interchange banner

Whakawhitinga ki Pāpāmoa ki te rāwhiti

The Pāpāmoa East Interchange

Construction of a new interchange over the Tauranga Eastern Link will see Pāpāmoa East connected to the motorway and enable further development of the area.

Pāpāmoa East Interchange construction

Tauranga is growing and changing fast. The coastal fringe is expected to grow significantly over the next 40 years, reaching up to 30,000 people by 2060. This includes more people and more traffic to get people to where they want to go.

We are committed to developing ‘liveable communities’ that ensure people are optimally connected to the places they live, learn, work and play.

To unlock development at Pāpāmoa East and allow further growth at Golden Sands and Wairākei, we will be constructing a new interchange at the eastern end of Te Okuroa Drive, to provide access to the motorway.

This interchange will enable faster travel between neighbourhoods in Pāpāmoa East and Tauranga city centre, Mount Maunganui and Te Puke for people choosing to travel by car. It will also provide a connection to the Rangiuru Business Park once that is operational.

The intersection will be constructed across the Tauranga Eastern Link Toll Road/State Highway 2 (SH2), east of the Wairākei neighbourhood, linking Te Okuroa Drive and future The Sands Avenue. Earthworks to prepare for construction start in mid-July 2022 and the interchange is scheduled to be ready for use early 2026. This work will have some impacts on traffic on the TEL TR – reduced speed and lane closures will apply when necessary to keep drivers and construction crew safe.

Artists impression of the new Pāpāmoa East Interchange

Why is this important?

Over the past few years, development in Pāpāmoa East has increased pressure on Tara Road as the main connection to SH2. This project will provide residents in the area with an alternative route and enable further development in Pāpāmoa East which helps support Tauranga’s growth. The Pāpāmoa East Interchange will ensure the community is connected to opportunities to live and work within parameters as defined by Smartgrowth’s UFTI.


This project is a collaboration between Tauranga City Council and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency with support from Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Western Bay of Plenty District Council. The work is guided by designers Bloxam Burnett & Olliver (BBO) and construction is in the hands of HEB Construction Ltd.

We are also working with our iwi partners Te Kapu o Waitaha, Tapuika Iwi Authority, Ngā Pōtiki a Tamapahore Trust and Te Rununga o Ngāti Whakaue ki Maketū. This partnership includes capturing and documenting stories from tangata whenua that relate to the area and its history and cultural monitoring during the early phases of earth works.

Construction stages

As some of the construction site is on farmland, which was part of the Kaituna wetlands, we need to allow nine moths for earthworks settlement. This work started in July 2022. Construction of the interchange itself is likely to commence in mid-2023 and conclude early 2026.

Stage 1

Earth works are in progress and expected to take to July 2023. This 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, and culvert extensions
  • Installing flexible safety barriers and widening the southern side of Tauranga Eastern Link
  • Earthworks to build a stormwater retention pond, swales and connecting drains

Stage 2

Te Okuroa Drive extension – started in June 2023.

This phase of the project includes construction of the extension of Te Okuroa Drive and the intersection with future The Sands Avenue. The contract for this phase has been awarded to HEB Construction, who have set up their site office and started work in June 2023. This phase is scheduled to finish at the end of 2023.

This second phase of work includes:

  • The Te Okuroa and The Sands Avenue signalized intersection
  • Te Okuroa Drive 4 lanes continuation (east) to intersection
  • The works includes shared bi-directional cycleway, footpaths, traffic islands/refuges, stormwater, street lighting, traffic signals and utilities.
  • Trunk water main to service Wairākei and Te Tumu
  • Stormwater reticulation and culverts facilitating improved drainage.
  • Wastewater trunk main to service Te Tumu
  • CCTV cameras and associated fibre cable/ducting

During this phase of work a section of the cycle track alongside the Tauranga Eastern Link will be diverted via a purpose-built temporary track.

Stage 3

Pāpāmoa East Interchange and The Sands Avenue construction - leading north to the intersection with Te Okuroa Drive. Construction expected to start late 2023 and go through until early 2026.


The intersection will be constructed over the Tauranga Eastern Link Toll Road (SH2), east of Wairākei neighbourhood, linking Te Okuroa Drive and future Sands Avenue.

Map of The Pāpāmoa East Interchange location

Traffic impacts on the Tauranga Eastern Link

Preliminary earth works needed for the interchange construction are progressing well and scheduled to be complete in early August 2023. Traffic on the Tauranga Eastern Link Toll Road (TEL TR)/State Highway 2 will continue to be impacted until then. This means one westbound lane of the TEL TR remains closed and speed in that direction is reduced to 70km/hr.

Once earthworks conclude, traffic management can be removed. We are aiming to coordinate this with other works happening on further along the TEL to minimise traffic impacts. Details will be confirmed once plans are confirmed.

Travel time is expected to increase by less than a minute under normal conditions. As this does not materially impact travel time, tolls will continue to apply.

Map of The Pāpāmoa East Interchange road structure during work.

Common questions

The Pāpāmoa East Interchange is a full diamond intersection, providing access to the Tauranga Eastern Link from the neighbourhoods at Pāpāmoa East which improves connections for these communities with Tauranga CBD, Mount Maunganui and Te Puke as well as the wider region.

Construction of the Pāpāmoa East Interchange will be constructed in three phases. The start of earthworks is scheduled for early July, which will be executed by our contractor HEB Construction limited. Earthworks are necessary to ensure a stable foundation on land that is currently very boggy.

Once earthworks and preparatory works are concluded, the next phase will see the construction of an extension to Te Okuroa Drive, with the final phase finishing the construction of the interchange and building a connection between Sands Avenue and Te Okuroa Drive. We expect the interchange to open early 2026.

We want to ensure communities out east are connected to opportunities for work and play at less than 45 minutes from home. The new interchange will provide increased capacity and connectivity to support the traffic demands associated with the development of Pāpāmoa East.

New Zealand’s population is growing and we are experiencing a nationwide shortage in housing. The government is asking Tauranga City Council to enable the construction of 11,000 homes to accommodate population growth. To facilitate this development, Tauranga City Council have received funding for the Pāpāmoa East Interchange through the Housing Infrastructure Fund.

Approximately 51% of the costs of the project will be funded by Waka Kotahi. The remaining costs will be funded via development contributions from both the Wairakei and the future Te Tumu growth areas.

TCC has received a 10 year interest free loan for the project via the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) . The HIF loan does not directly fund the project but it reduces the debt costs faced by TCC given that development contributions can only be recouped as land development occurs.

Key information

Project type
Transport and movement


Papamoa / Papamoa East

Key dates

  • Phase 1 - Earth works

    July 2022 to July 2023
  • Phase 2 - Te Okuroa Drive extension

    June 2023 to early 2024
  • Phase 3 - Pāpāmoa East Interchange and Sands Avenue construction

    Late 2023 to early 2026

Who's listening

Community Relations Team
Tauranga City Council

Phone: 07 577 7000

Other ways to get involved

Tauranga is your city. We’re working to make it even better.

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