Congestion from SH2 closure highlights Tauranga's poor transport network

A Tauranga business leader says the heavy congestion caused by the shooting-related State Highway 2 road closures shows the “little resilience” across the region’s transport network.

People were encouraged to work from home as SH2 between Waihi Rd off ramp and Cameron Rd was closed this morning following the fatal police firearms incident.

Northbound lanes reopened about 11.55am.

NZ Transport Agency said congestion was heavy in the area and motorists should avoid unnecessary travel and consider working from home where possible. Advertisement

Cordon on State Highway 2. Photo / Andrew WarnerCordon on State Highway 2.

Photo / Andrew Warner

Long delays are expected with the closures expected to remain in place well into the day.

Takitimu Drive has reopened.

Detours are in place. City-bound traffic from Bethlehem should turn left onto Waihi Rd, turn left onto SH2 ramp for Takatimu Drive north or continue on Waihi Rd and turn right onto Cameron Rd for SH29A south.

SH2 TAURANGA INCIDENT – 11:55AM UPDATE
SH2 remains CLOSED (southbound) between Waihi Rd off-ramp and Takatimu Dr following a Police incident. Northbound lanes are OPEN for all motorists.

For more information, please check our website: https://t.co/3p8hsyMfn8. ^MF pic.twitter.com/61JCtzuqS4

— NZTA Waikato/BoP (@NZTAWaiBoP) February 13, 2020

East-bound traffic should turn right onto Waihi Rd from Cambridge Rd, turn left onto SH2 ramp for Takatimu Drive north or continue on Waihi Road and turn right onto Cameron Rd for SH29A south.

People travelling to Paeroa northward are encouraged to consider using State Highway 1 and State Highway 29, or State Highway 27 and State Highway 29 over the Kaimais.

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Motorists should avoid unnecessary travel, consider working from home where possible and expect delays.

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Matt Cowley said gridlock traffic quickly causes massive productivity losses for the local economy.

“It is often the small businesses and sole traders that suffer the most, particularly in the construction and logistics sectors, who are penalised for not meeting timeframe KPIs. Advertisement

Cowley said it showed Tauranga’s transport network had “very little resilience across the city”, from Papamoa to the region’s northern corridor.

“The 40,000 residents in Papamoa are all too familiar with their lack of connections. This reinforces the government’s decision to build the Northern Link.”

A spokeswoman at Bethlehem College said the closing of State Highway 2 had affected students getting to school on time this morning.
Today is the Year 9 to 13 athletics day at the Tauranga Domain which had complicated matters further. She said they were doing their best and students were still coming into school due to delays.

Otumoetai College principal Russell Gordon said both teachers and students had been affected by the delays. Teachers were asked to be adaptable this morning and bring any students that didn’t have teachers into their classes.

He said it had all calmed down now and all was well.

Bethlehem Motors owner Craig Major said this morning they had a car sitting on the hoist in the garage waiting for parts.

“Getting parts from town is bad on a daily basis let alone when the road is closed.”

He said three members had been late to work from being stuck in traffic.

He said there had also been some delays in customers turning up for appointments.

“It’s frustrating that sort of thing is happening in Tauranga nowadays, and the impact one person has on thousands of people.

“It’s a real shame.”

Valentine’s Day deliveries have also been affected due to the closures.

Tauranga City Council said police roadblocks were affecting contractors’ ability to collect rubbish, recycling and glass in some suburbs of Tauranga.

They inculde Bellevue, Bethlehem (north), Brookfield, Bureta, Judea (north), Otumoetai, and Matua.

The council said their contractors would do their best to complete today’s collection by working late.

Those households that cannot be serviced today will be serviced tomorrow.

People are encouraged to visit the Transport Agency’s Journey Planner website for up-to-date information about the closure and detour.

The Transport Agency thanks motorists for their patience.

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