|Words from the Western Bay Mayor
by Garry Webber
After 12 years of fighting for a critical upgrade of the State Highway 2/Ōmokoroa intersection, I am thrilled to say it’s finally happening.
Council has secured $38 million for the upgrade, which will improve safety and capacity, as well as open up much-needed housing potential.
It has taken many behind-the-scenes 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 Kāinga Ora-led Infrastructure Acceleration Fund: a fund established to support housing development in areas of need.
It’s no secret we have a housing shortage across the region. Ōmokoroa 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 Kāinga 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 much-needed additional housing.
The upgrade will see a new interim roundabout built at SH2/Ōmokoroa Rd, four-laning of Ōmokoroa 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 Kāinga 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 hopes of putting that first spade in the ground as early as Christmas. We’ll keep you in the loop at each step of the process.