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Maungatapu underpass

The Maungatapu underpass opened on 22 June 2018. It was built by the NZ Transport Agency to help improve traffic flow through the Maungatapu and Hairini roundabouts.

Maungatapu underpass speed limit

Tauranga City Council has approved the bylaw amendment for a 60km/h speed limit for the Maungatapu area. This bylaw amendment was necessary as new urban roads have a default 50km/h speed limit, but the underpass was designed and constructed for a speed of 60km/h. This is the safe and appropriate speed limit through the Maungatapu underpass and along the Hairini causeway. We appreciate it has taken a long time to work through the process and thank you for your patience.

As of Thursday, 28 March, the following changes are being implemented:

  • The current speed limit through the Maungatapu underpass is raised from 50km/h to 60km/h
  • The current speed limit along the causeway is lowered from 70km/h to 60km/h, including the approaches to and from the SH29A Maungatapu roundabout.
  • The speed limit along Welcome Bay Lane – which is temporarily closed – remains at 50km/h.

Approved speed limits - Maungatapu underpass (473kb pdf)

Hairini Street vehicle access

Access onto the Hairini causeway through Hairini Street was closed at short notice on 25 June 2018, several days after the underpass opened, because of concerns about vehicle collisions. 

The three-way merge comprising traffic from the underpass, Maungatapu roundabout and Harini Street presents a significant safety issue. Safety audits point to it being unsafe to open Hairini Street for general traffic. The primary consideration is people’s safety. As part of the modelling we are looking to improve the safety at the Hairini roundabout to ensure better access for residents. A formal decision about this will be made in the new year.

Hairini Street bus lane

A new bus lane was opened on 6 July 2018. The bus lane is working well and is an important step toward enabling more reliable bus trips between Hairini and the city, especially as the Bay of Plenty Regional Council increased the number of bus services in December 2018. Tauranga City Council and the Transport Agency agree that the Hairini Street bus lane is an essential addition to Tauranga’s urban transport network. The Hairini bus lane supports Tauranga City Council’s transport policy and the government’s priority of reducing the need for people to make local trips in private vehicles.

Cycle safety review

We want to make it easier for more people to ride to and from Welcome Bay, which requires safe, well-connected biking routes. A cycle safety review was commissioned by the council and the Transport Agency after the underpass opened. The report confirmed that Welcome Bay Lane needed to be closed at the intersection of Welcome Bay Road. The road was closed on Saturday, 29 September 2018. A. This is a temporary safety measure while we consider how best to maintain a safe environment for everyone using this section of road. formal decision will be made about the closure in the new year.

NZ Transport Agency and the council are working closely with the designers of the underpass project and safety auditors to find suitable solutions that will make the area as safe as possible. We are looking very carefully at all of the recommendations to come out of the safety report. Some are straightforward to implement, others are more complex and will require more time.

We need to understand the wider impact on journey times because some recommendations have the potential to affect the flow of traffic, particularly during the morning peak. To do this the NZ Transport Agency has completed some detailed traffic modelling for the SH29A Maungatapu and Hairini area. Some of the modelling looked at options for Welcome Bay Lane. Evidence is supporting that the access into Welcome Bay Lane from Welcome Bay Road should remain permanently closed. The closure will deliver a number of benefits including making it safer for people who travel by bike and at the top of Welcome Bay Lane where vehicles were trying to cross lanes.

A presentation was made to the Transportation Committee on 10 December 2018.

Summary - Tauranga City Council Transport Modelling (4mb pdf)

Full Report - Tauranga City Council Transport Modelling (5mb pdf)

Why 60km/h and not 70km/h?

New roads associated with the Maungatapu Underpass have been assessed against national speed criteria, which considers the function, nature and use of the road, its environment and adjacent land use. The assessment concluded that a 60 km/h speed limit is the safest and most appropriate speed limit for Welcome Bay Link Road, with all other new roads in the area attracting the default permanent speed limit of 50km/h. 

One of the Governments key objectives for managing speed is to give effect to a nationally consistent and evidence based approach to the setting of speed limits in New Zealand. This reflects the goal of the Government’s Safer Journeys road safety strategy to, over time, reduce the number of different speed limits applying and make them more self-explanatory to road users.

More information can be found in the agenda from Council on 5 March 2019 (7mb pdf)

Last Reviewed: 01/04/2019

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