Weekend Sun column

Friday, April 29, 2016

On Monday I attended the Dawn Service at the Mount Cenotaph and the Civic Parade at Memorial Park. Anzac Day is a chance to reflect and honour the contributions our veterans made to protect our freedoms and way of life. It is also an opportunity to pay tribute to the men and women currently serving in our armed forces.

Last week I had the privilege of announcing the Government’s $520 million package of road works that will transform State Highway 2 between Tauranga and Waihi and includes the long awaited $286 million Tauranga Northern Link.

The new Northern Link will be a seven kilometre highway that will initially connect Tauranga’s Takitimu Drive with Te Puna on State Highway 2. Construction on the new road will start in 2018.

Another $150 million has been earmarked for a further extension to the Tauranga Northern Link as Tauranga and wider Western Bay of Plenty continues to grow.

The business case for the extension, which will continue the four lane road from Te Puna through to Omokoroa, is expected to be completed in the next couple of years and construction will be underway toward the middle of next decade.

$85 million has also been allocated to safety improvements on SH2 between Waihi and Te Puna. This stretch of road is over represented in the crash statistics. The extra funding will go to installing median and side barriers, as well as make improvements to intersections that will reduce the number of deaths and serious injury crashes on SH2. These safety improvements will go ahead this year.