Vital upgrade gets the green light

$38 million allocated to fix intersection

Mayor Garry Webber Opinion




Your Community Voice

If you missed the news recently, Minister of Housing Megan Woods announced council has secured $38 million to upgrade the State Highway 2/O¯ mokoroa intersection. This means — after more than 12 years of push backs, twists and turns — we can finally say with surety that an upgrade of this intersection is happening. It has taken many behind-thescenes conversations with government officials to keep the safety issues surrounding this intersection top of mind. I know this news will bring immense relief to those who use the intersection regularly. This funding is the direct result of council’s proposal to the Ka¯ inga Oraled Infrastructure Acceleration Fund: a fund established to support housing development in areas of need. The upgrade will address the existing safety and capacity issues at the intersection, unlocking critical housing development in O¯ mokoroa. It’s no secret we have a housing shortage across the region. O¯ mokoroa has plenty of housing potential which, until now, has been unavailable because we simply could not place any more pressure on the intersection. With the upgrade complete, council expects more than 900 new homes will be built by 2029 — including a mix of standalone homes, affordable homes and medium density housing. Four key developers have also entered “Housing Outcome Agreements” with Ka¯ inga Ora and council to show their commitment to delivering this housing as quickly as possible. I’m thrilled we have found a solution that allows us to finally upgrade this intersection, and support the region with muchneeded additional housing. The upgrade will see a new interim roundabout built at SH2 / O¯ mokoroa Rd, four-laning of O¯ mokoroa Rd from SH2 to Prole Rd, and a second roundabout at the future Francis Rd intersection to service the industrial area. Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency will also contribute $5m to the project plus land — making this a $43 million upgrade. The interim SH2 roundabout has a projected 10 — 15 year design life, based on traffic growth modelling, and will be constructed in a way that supports the future interchange. Yes, it’s an interim solution. But the community is much better off having this solution than nothing it all. Thank you, to Ka¯ inga Ora for seeing the vital nature of this project, and to Waka Kotahi for working with us to create a solution that keeps us all moving forward. I also want to acknowledge the support of Jan Tinetti and Angie Warren Clark. Council will now get on with completing the detailed design and other consenting tasks — with the hopes of putting that first spade in the ground as early as Christmas. We know this is an important project for the community, which is why we’ll be keeping you in the loop at each step of the process.