A half-billion-dollar upgrade of the Tauranga's major northern road is critical for easing congestion and making the road safer, the city's mayor says.
Transport Minister Simon Bridges announced the upgrade for State Highway 2 between Tauranga and Waihi on Friday.
Mayor Stuart Crosby said it was a key route to the Port of Tauranga. He said it was becoming congested and needed work.
The upgrade would include safety improvements which he hoped would help reduce the region's crash rate.
The road would complete the northern arterial bypass and help the region plan for urban growth, Mr Crosby said.