18 Dec 2009

Second harbour bridge in Tauranga opens

3:38 pm on 18 December 2009

A second harbour bridge linking Tauranga with Mount Maunganui has been officially opened.

Transport Minister Steven Joyce on Friday unveiled a new plaque, alongside one dating from the original bridge opening in March 1988.

He said the project is critical for the economy of the Bay of Plenty region and has improved access to the country's busiest export port.

Mr Joyce paid tribute to local political leaders, iwi groups and the wider community, saying the joint growth strategies of the local and regional authorities had gone a long way towards making the second crossing a reality.

The bridge has been completed under budget and three months early.

Mr Joyce also announced the Transport Agency is continuing work on a proposal to toll motorists on a planned $455 million upgrade of State Highway 2 to bypass Te Puke.

The Cabinet will be asked to approve bringing forward construction of the eastern link motorway to next year, as one of seven roading projects of national significance.