The last 800m of the Ōmokoroa to Tauranga cycleway is being constructed early next year, enabling safe cycling on the narrow strip of State Highway 2 (SH2) between the Wairoa Bridge and Bethlehem.
From mid-2023, cyclists will be able to cross the Wairoa River and safely continue their journey between Ōmokoroa to Tauranga without the risk of sharing this section of road with trucks and cars.
Completion of this cycleway will address cyclist safety in the short and medium-term until the Takitimu North Link is completed. At that time, this busy section of SH2 will become a local road which opens up possibilities that are not available on the State Highway network, as well as providing an alternative option along the Takitimu North Link.
This section of the cycleway is known as the Wairoa cycleway but is often referred to locally as the Ōmokoroa cycleway.
Completion of the cycleway will ensure that both commuting and recreational connections are possible between the network along the Waihī to Maketu tourist trail.
Tauranga City Council, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and Western Bay of Plenty District Council have been working together to ensure the safety of cyclists along this busy section of SH2 since the completion of the clip-on in May 2020.
Wairoa two-way cycleway
Wairoa two-way cycleway (611kb pdf)
SH2 speed limit changes
In late 2019, Waka Kotahi consulted on safer speeds between Katikati and Tauranga and put in place new speed limits in 2020.
A new lower speed limit of 50km/h was proposed between the Wairoa River bridge and Bethlehem based on the development of a new cycleway. Now that the cycleway has moved forward to construction, the new speed limit will be put in place when it’s finished.
The speed limit changes are:
Existing speed limit
Proposed new speed limit
|Te Puna to eastern side of Wairoa Bridge
|Eastern side of Wairoa Bridge to Carmichael Road
||90km/h and 50km/h
Construction of the Wairoa cycleway (Bethlehem side of the bridge) will complete the 19km Ōmokoroa to Tauranga cycleway - which makes up part of the iconic Waihī to Maketu tourist trail.
The cycleway began as part of the Urban Cycleways Programme project - jointly funded by central government, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, Western Bay of Plenty District Council and Tauranga City Council with additional contributions from the NZ Community Trust, Tauranga Energy Consumer Trust and the Ōmokoroa Community Board.
The route of the cycleway is made up of both new and existing off-road shared paths and local road connections providing a link between Ōmokoroa and Tauranga City's existing urban cycleway network.
Map of the Tauranga cycle network (226kb pdf)
The cycleway enables access to communities, schools, parks and reserves, and the Tauranga Harbour as well as higher density rural development areas planned under the sub-region's SmartGrowth partnership.
The development of this northern city route will also provide an alternative transport choice to the busy SH2 corridor that connects Ōmokoroa to Tauranga City.
The cycleway is expected to attract 130-200 commuter cyclists a day, with a higher estimate for recreational users.
Cyclists will cross the Wairoa Bridge and go under it to cycle up the other side of SH2.
The cycleway will avoid cyclists sharing the road with trucks and cars.
The last section will complete the 19km Ōmokoroa to Tauranga cycleway which is used for recreation, tourism and commuter cycling.
Cyclists will cross Taniwha Place and continue up the hill to cross at a signalised crossing connecting to Carmichael Road.
What will it mean for me?
A cyclist’s perspective
If you are cycling from Ōmokoroa to Bethlehem, you will cross the bridge using the existing cycleway (which currently ends at the Bethlehem side).
At the end of the bridge, you will do a hairpin turn and then follow the cycleway down underneath the bridge and cycle up the other side. This brings you to the widest part of this section of SH2.
From here you will cycle up to Taniwha Place where there will be a crossing set back from the intersection to enable clear visibility between vehicles approaching and cyclists.
You will cross Taniwha Place and continue up to the top of the hill.
At the top of the hill there will be a new signalised crossing that allows for you to safely cross SH2 to Carmichael Road.
From Carmichael Road you can connect through Gordon Carmichael Reserve to join the urban cycling network to the city.
A Taniwha Place resident’s perspective
As you are leaving or entering Taniwha Place, when cyclists are at the crossing, they will give way to vehicles.
A designated turning bay is provided on SH2 for drivers turning right into Taniwha Place. Cyclists will give way to prevent a backlog of traffic behind you.
There will be space before the crossing for a car to wait if it is turning left into Taniwha Place.
A driver’s perspective
If you are driving from Bethlehem to Te Puna (north), there will be a new signalised crossing on SH2 at Carmichael Road. This is between the roundabout (where the Gull and Z petrol stations are) and just before you head down the hill to the bridge.
The signalised crossing will be set off by cyclists wanting to cross the road. The length of time they will have to cross is approximately 20 seconds.
In heavy commuter traffic (either way) the delay will be minimal as the traffic is already moving at a slow pace.
Note: the more people who cycle the fewer cars need to be on the road.