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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.

Latest Updates

Community

We are now starting Phase 3 of construction, in which you’ll see the interchange itself take shape. This third and final phase of the project includes the construction of:

  • The abutments and interchange
  • All on and offramps
  • The Sands Avenue connection between the bridge and the new intersection at Te Okuroa Drive
  • All waters infrastructure.

To mark the occasion of the start of this phase, a small ceremony was held on 2 May 2024, with representatives from all partners and contributors on the project.

Read more about Pāpāmoa East Interchange construction moves into final phase.

Traffic impacts on the Tauranga Eastern Link

To keep drivers and crew safe during construction alongside the motorway, a 2km section of the outer eastbound lane will be closed from Monday, 13 May 2024.

This closure will remain for the duration of construction, and speed in the work section will be reduced to 70km/h.

Detour map

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 started in July 2022 and the interchange is scheduled to be ready for use mid-2026.

Construction will continue to 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. The new interchange 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.

Partners

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 months for earthworks settlement. This work started in July 2022. Construction of the interchange itself is likely to commence in late-2023 and conclude early 2026.

Phase 1

Earth works have now been completed. This phase included:

  • 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

Phase 2

This phase of the project was completed early 2024 and included construction of:

  • The Te Okuroa and The Sands Avenue signalized intersection
  • Te Okuroa Drive 4 lanes continuation (east) to intersection
  • 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

Phase 3

The current phase incudes the construction of the interchange itself as well as the section of The Sands Avenue leading north to the intersection with Te Okuroa Drive.  

Phase three covers construction of:

  • The abutments and interchange 
  • All on and offramps
  • The Sands Avenue connection between the bridge and the new intersection at Te Okuroa Drive 
  • All waters infrastructure

Construction for this phase is in the hands of HEB Construction Ltd and work is scheduled to conclude mid-2026.

Location

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

Common questions

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

On- and off-ramps will allow traffic to go both east on State Highway 2 towards Whakatāne, and west to Mount Maunganui and Tauranga CBD.

Construction of the Pāpāmoa East Interchange is split into three phases. Phase one and two included earthworks and preparatory works, as well as the construction of an extension to Te Okuroa Drive and a new intersection with future The Sands Avenue.

We have now started the final phase which includes the construction of the interchange and a connection between The Sands Avenue and Te Okuroa Drive. We expect the interchange to open mid-2026.

We want to ensure communities out east are connected to opportunities for work and play at less than 45 minutes from home as defined by Smartgrowth’s UFTI. 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 has asked 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.

The total cost for the project is expected to be circa $98M. Approximately 51% of the costs of the project will be funded by Waka Kotahi. The remaining costs will be funded via development contributions as and when land development is completed.

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.

It is not unusual to have interchanges built at a later stage from the main road/highway construction. In this case, at the time of construction there was a lot less development at that end of Pāpāmoa. Now that additional development has taken place and more is planned, the increased roading capacity is desperately needed.

Construction of a project this size simply takes time. During the first stages of construction, earthworks prepared and stabilised the farmland the interchange will be built on. This requires a nine-month period of settlement prior to construction - a tried and tested method of construction which ensures the durability of the interchange. We also built an extension to Te Okuroa Drive and a completely new intersection between Te Okuroa Drive and what will be The Sands Avenue.

During this final phase of the project, we will construct the abutments, the on- and off-ramps, as well as the interchange bridge itself. Construction is expected to take until mid-2026.

As work will occur both outside and inside the SH2 TELTR corridor, we need to provide a safe distance between the construction sites and our crew, and drivers on the motorway. This keeps everyone safe during construction.

Tolling allowed construction of the Tauranga Eastern Link Toll Road to be brought forward, the toll is there to pay for the construction.

A decision on tolling for drivers accessing the Tauranga Eastern Link Toll Road via the new interchange is with NZTA/Waka Kotahi and is yet to be confirmed.

Key information

Project type
Transport and movement

Status
Underway

Neighbourhood
Pāpāmoa / Pāpāmoa 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

    May 2024 to mid 2026

Who's listening

Transport Team
Tauranga City Council

peiproject@tauranga.govt.nz
07 577 7000

Other ways to get involved

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

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