Taupo Bypass – East Taupo Arterial – Benefits & change

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We can find ranking of the economic and wider benefits for this road compared to other roading projects in the print version of the  Regional Land Transport Strategy for the Waikato Region 2006-2016, page 111.

Taupo Bypass 2006 colour copy

The only score less than high (H) for the East Taupo Arterial (ETA) is Medium (M) for Efficiency, which is assigned “based on a traditional cost/benefit ratio, showing the economic return”.

The risk of building a town bypass is that less people will visit, and thus will spend less money in the original town centre: however, this did not seem too much of a concern when the bypass was discussed by local business leaders in 2002.

New SH1 route to bypass Taupo – Nov 26, 2002 NZ Herald

Shop Taupo spokesman … said local businesses did not believe the ETA would result in a drop off in visitor numbers despite projections that 4000 vehicles a day would use the new route.

No retail developments would be allowed the 15km-long route

Now, in 2014, we can look back at the change in traffic: the estimate of 4,000 fewer vehicles per day was pretty close to what has actually happened, when we look at data from NZTA-SH-traffic-volumes

Taupo – SH1 20m Nth of Control Gate Bridge Recession ETA opens Oct 2010
Year 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Cars 27,090 26,159 26,586 22,965 22,889 22,889 23,367
Heavy 2,165 1,670 1,879 1,916 1,033 809 1,127
Total 29,255 27,829 28,465 24,881 24,021 23,695 24,494

The Shop Taupo spokesman’s comment “No retail development would be allowed” turns out to be wishful thinking: there is now a large petrol station, and a Hardware Shop, at the ETA intersection with SH5.

Other businesses will likely be attracted to this intersection, as has happened in other towns with this type of change to their transport networks, as reported here (Economic evaluation of town bypasses – NSW):

One third of highway-oriented businesses along the old routes closed following bypass construction. However, just as many new businesses opened during the same study periods – many along the new bypass routes.

Also, across the road at this intersection, the local council has plans for a mixed use Campus

The Campus will contain its own residential/visitor accommodation and limited retail functions although its primary focus remains industry, education and research

Finally, here is a table  from Taupo District — Economic Monitor Dec Quarter 2013, showing changes to Taupo. The report is worth a quick read as it gives useful comparisons to other towns.

Taupo District Economic Monitor DecQtr13 copy

 

 

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