Tolls Likely For New Tauranga Eastern Highway


Tolling looks likely on the planned Tauranga Easter motorway link and it would last for decades.

This would enable construction to start next year instead of starting five to ten years time.

The NZTA has proposed the tolling  and Transport Minister Steven Joyce says today that he is open to that.

The idea has to be  considered by Cabinet under the criteria set out in the Land Transport Management Act 2003.

The toll proposed is cars $2, heavy vehicles $5, motorcycles free.

The $455 million project will see a four-lane motorway from Te Maunga to Paengaroa – by-passing Te Puke.

At 23 kilometres it will be New Zealand’s longest single four lane state highway project.

The corridor provides the main road access to Tauranga from the east (Te Puke, Whakatane, Opotiki, Gisborne) and south (Rotorua, Taupo). This is a key route for trucks servicing the Port of Tauranga.

The planned motorway will take regional traffic out of Te Puke.

The project comprises two main sections:

  • Widening the existing highway from Te Maunga to Domain Rd to provide a 4 lane carriageway with a median barrier. The works will include minor improvements at Te Maunga roundabout, a separate access lane for properties fronting SH2, a new grade separated interchange that links to Sandhurst Drive, left-in/left-out intersections at Bruce and Kairua Roads, and a new grade separated interchange at Domain Road. This section is approx 6km long.
  • A new “greenfields” section of 4 lane motorway with median barrier from Domain Rd to Paengaroa (SH2/33) junction. The works will include an overbridge (no connections) at Parton Rd, a 4 lane bridge over the Kaituna River, grade separated overpasses over Maketu Road and the railway line, and a new twin lane roundabout at the intersection of SH2 & SH33. This section is approx 17km long.

Aerial view of proposed link | NZTA

NZTA says tolling the route would supplement traditional sources, enabling the early delivery of the road without over-burdening the land transport fund.

NZTA has had 3311 submissions on the project – an overwhelming 3311 people  supported the idea and there were 211 against.

Those who supported tolls gave as reasons:

  • The new road is needed now; get on with it.
  • Commercial businesses supporting as it will provide them with a direct economic benefit.
  • This includes some transport companies which anticipate the ability to complete one additional return journey per day due to travel time savings.

Those who opposed tolls said:

  • It should be 100% funded by the National Land Transport Fund.
  • Spending this level of money is inappropriate when the country is in a recession.
  • Already taxed too much by central and local government.
  • A road toll is just another tax.
  • “Bureaucratic blackmail’ to say supporting the tolling proposal will enable construction to start early.
  • Huge costs which are not justified in terms of benefits.
  • There are cheaper improvement options to the transportation network which should be considered and pursued.
  • Rail should be utilised instead of building more roads.

With the overwhelming support of the submissions, NZTA recommends tolls and it seems likely to get the Cabinet rubber stamp early in the new year to bring the project forward so it starts next year.

After all, politically, if the link is wanted, it can only help National’s Tauranga seat chances and further isolate any hope of NZ First returning.




  1. Jeremy Harris says:

    As long as it has environmental mitigation, it’s tolled and pays for itself, go for it…

  2. Luke says:

    I hope this is done in conjunction with land use plans otherwise the road will soon become congested with local traffic and soon the benefit to port traffic would disappear.
    Still be much cheaper to build an inland port and transfer much of the port traffic to rail there. However that would sure to be an ‘unacceptable subsidy’ according to certain decision makers.

  3. Nick R says:

    I’m in favour of tolling as a demand management tool, and the fact it reduces the burden on the taxpayer is handy too (assuming it gets built hell or highwater, I’m in favour of those who benefit from these new high speed and capacity links paying a little extra for the privilage).

  4. Joshua says:

    Go the Toll. Any new motorways should have the toll gantries put up.

  5. Yvonne says:

    “NZTA has had 3311 submissions on the project – an overwhelming 3311 people supported the idea and there were 211 against.”
    Um… Can someone please clarify this for me?


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