Project Spotlight: New Zealand’s Takitimu North Link

Takitimu North Link

fulton hogan, HEB Construction, new zealand, Takitimu North Link,


New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty region is experiencing rapid growth and, with it, increasing pressure on its existing transport infrastructure.

The Takitimu North Link project, a major four-lane expressway, is set to address these challenges by enhancing connectivity and improving road safety in the region. The project, led by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, aims to connect Tauranga to Te Puna and eventually extend to Omokoroa, offering significant benefits to residents, businesses, and the local economy.

The Takitimu North Link project, spanning a total of 14 kilometers, is divided into two stages:

  • Stage 1: Tauranga to Te Puna
  • Stage 2: Te Puna to Omokoroa

Stage One connects Tauranga to Te Puna with a new 6.8km four-lane expressway, including a shared walking and cycling path.

Stage Two connects Te Puna to Ōmokoroa and extends Stage One.

Construction for Takitimu North Link stage one began in 2022 and is expected to be completed in 2027. Waka Kotahi is working towards lodging designation and resource contents with the Western Bay of Plenty District Council and Bay of Plenty Regional Council.

Takitimu North Link Stage 1 is funded at $655 million. In December 2021, the Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency awarded the design and construction contract to the Fulton Hogan and HEB Joint Venture.

VINCI and Fulton Hogan awarded contract for the Takitimu North Link road in New Zealand

Though the procurement process is still unconfirmed, Takitimu North Link stage 2’s estimated total funding cost is NZ $455 million.

Takitimu North Link Stage 1 will provide a two-lane connection between State Highway Two near Te Puna and State Highway 29 Takitimu Drive Toll Road.

The key features of Takitimu North Link Stage 1 include:

  • A separate walking and cycling path
  • A new bridge crossing at Wairoa Awa (river)
  • An overbridge interchange at Minden Road/ Te Rangituanehu
  • Underpasses at Cambridge Road and Wairoa Road
  • A new westbound single-lane connection from Fifteenth Avenue to Takitimu Drive Toll Road
  • A northbound flyover and southbound bypass lane at the SH29 interconnection/interface

Fulton Hogan and HEB Joint Venture construction crews will build eight bridges that cross over or under the corridor, totalling 1.6km of the 6.8km alignment. The eight bridges comprise 45 spans and approximately 12km of piles. The bridges range from 20m to 360m in length and 6m to 25m in height.

Cambridge Road Overbridge

Cambridge Road Overbridge will be constructed using a top-down method. The bridge will be built on the current ground alignment and then excavated underneath for the new road.

Te Rangituanehu/Minden overbridge

The interchange consists of three bridges that provide on and off ramps. Planting will complement the orchards on the western side and the gully on the eastern side. Wetland swales will treat stormwater runoff from the bridge.

Below is a concept map for stage one.

Source: © NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi 2024

Click here to read more about the design and construction features of Takitimu North Link stage one

Stage 2: Te Puna to Omokoroa

Takitimu North Link stage two will involve the construction of a new connection between Te Puna and Ōmokoroa.

The scope of works for stage two include:

  • A new seven-kilometre, four-lane highway featuring median and side barriers
  • Seven kilometres of shared path for pedestrians and cyclists
  • Overbridge for local travel at Plummers Point Road/Barrett Road
  • Overbridge for local traffic at Snodgrass Road/Te Puna Quarry Road
  • A grade-separated interchange at SH2 and Ōmokoroa Road
  • Two managed lanes to prioritise public transport, vehicles with multiple passengers, and freight vehicles
  • Retaining the existing SH2 highway as a local road
  • A connection to Takitimu North Link Stage One

Takitimu North Link ecological and ground investigations were required for stage two commenced in July 2021.

In July 2023, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency published draft plans for the project for public consultation. The consultation will close on 4 August 2024.

However, stage two of the project’s timeline was extended into the long term. The Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency indicated that the project would not be completed by 2024 and is not expected to commence until at least 2031.

Click here to read more about Takitimu North Link stage 2.

Stage One of the Takitimu North Link project was initially set to be completed in 2026 but postponed to 2027. The delay stems from a broader $24b shortfall in transport funding, driven by rising costs across the sector. This financial shortfall and delay in completing Stage One raises concerns about further delays or funding challenges for Stage Two of the Takitimu North Link project.

Successfully adapting to unexpected geological conditions, adhering to construction schedules, and maintaining safety standards are crucial challenges that can significantly impact the project’s overall success and timely completion.

Takitimu North Link aims to improve safety, reducing severe injuries and fatalities on State Highway 2. It will also enhance access through reliable travel times, facilitating smoother journeys for local commuters and regional freight to the Port of Tauranga. The project will also include managed lanes and shared paths to support greater travel choices, prioritising public transport, walking, and cycling.

Takitimu North Link project in New Zealand wins International Design award

Source: NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi

Environmental considerations and sustainability

The project will implement wetland swales and detention basins to treat and manage stormwater runoff, reducing the impact of flooding and maintaining water quality. Many of the culverts under the existing SH2 will be upsized to restore natural stream flows, improve fish passage and reduce flooding.

To maintain a steady traffic flow, measures are taken to minimise traffic disruptions, including carefully planned detours, temporary roads, and efficient construction schedules. Noise barriers and low-noise road surfaces minimise construction and operational noise, reducing disturbance to nearby communities.

Efforts are made to protect native wildlife and vegetation through habitat restoration, planting native species, and creating ecological corridors. Landscaping plans are also considered, including planting native vegetation to blend with the surrounding environment.

The Fulton Hogan and HEB Joint Venture began environmental controls and construction for Takitimu North Link stage one in 2021. Stage one was carried out in three phases, as construction on the bridges has now entered the final phase.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has confirmed that the new 100m bridge at Cambridge Road between Bethlehem and Tauriko will open to traffic in 2024.

Cambridge Road Overbridge nears completion as part of the Takitimu North Link project

For stage two, geotechnical testing, ecological, site contamination, and engineering investigations were carried out in March 2023. Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has deferred the project to the long term and will likely begin construction in 2031.

Source: © NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi 2024

Source: © Infrastructure Partnerships Australia 2024

Image Source: © NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi 2024

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