The Te Rapa Bypass is intended to provide relief to the existing and future transportation system within the Te Rapa area. This area has experienced significant development adjacent to the existing state highway corridor in recent years, and Hamilton City Council and Waikato District Council have plans for further growth via their respective Rotokauri and Horotiu Industrial structure plans. Te Rapa Bypass will provide a suitable inter-regional connection to the western corridor of Hamilton City from the north, and will help support future development and traffic growth.
Te Rapa Bypass is a critical component of the proposed integrated multi-modal transport network that is being planned by the territorial authorities. The NZTA has been working closely with Hamilton City Council in the development of the Rotokauri Structure Plan to identify local transport corridors that will cross the bypass and form part of the Rotokauri pedestrian and cycle network.
Off-road shared cycle and pedestrian facilities will be incorporated along the western side of the bypass between the central junction and Gilchrist Street, and sufficient road width will be provided on the bypass north of the central junction to safely accommodate on-road cyclists.
Two parallel routes north of the central junction (existing SH1 and Onion Road) will also provide opportunities for cycle and pedestrian facilities that are better integrated into the local road network between Horotiu and Te Rapa.
The new Gilchrist Street interchange will incorporate signalised pedestrian crossings to facilitate safe movements across the busy roads.
Off-road shared pedestrian and cycle facilities will also be incorporated along the western side of Avalon Drive between Gilchrist Street and Rotokauri Road to help improve access to the Avalon Wintec Campus.
The Te Rapa Bypass project consists of an approximately 6km realignment of SH1 from Hutchison Road in Horotiu to Gilchrist Street, at the northern end of Avalon Drive near the Wintec campus.
The project also includes the four-laning of an approximately 1.6km section of Avalon Drive between Gilchrist Street and the Rotokauri Roundabout, at the northern end of the Avalon Drive Bypass.
View a diagram showing a general overview of the Te Rapa Bypass.
Proposed project features in the preliminary design are subject to change. They currently include:
Access on and off the bypass will be restricted to the Horotiu and Gilchrest Street junctions. Provision will also be made for a future central interchange located on the new Te Kowhai to Onion Road link (which will be part of the future Hamilton City Council northern river crossing).
Upgrading the existing state highway corridor with additional traffic lanes was considered as part of the earlier 2001 Hutchinson Road to Tasman Road Traffic Study. This study was further reviewed as part of the new bypass investigations. Following this work considerable discussions were held between NZTA and Hamilton City Council to confirm the long term strategy for the existing state highway corridor given the increasing pressure for access requirements onto the highway for adjacent commercial and industrial land.
In November 2002 the document “Hutchinson to Tasman – Additional Analysis & Proposed Strategy”, summarised the final strategy which the Transit New Zealand Board subsequently approved. (Transit is now part of NZTA). This strategy involved:
This strategy has been confirmed following the Te Rapa Bypass investigations, which led to the Notice of Requirement for the bypass designation. A review of traffic flow projections at the Wairere Drive/Avalon Drive/Te Rapa Road intersection near The Base confirms that, even with the recent upgrade from a roundabout to traffic signals, this intersection will not be able to meet peak traffic demands (without high delays and queuing) as early as 2016, without the Te Rapa Bypass in place. Hence, options to provide additional capacity at this site (without the Te Rapa Bypass) would need to include major grade separation in an already confined location.
Upgrading the existing state highway corridor would not provide enough overall network capacity to allow the Te Rapa, Rotokauri, and Horotiu growth areas to fully develop whilst also providing an efficient route for inter-regional traffic on SH1. For example, the traffic demand flows on the existing SH1 between The Base and the Wairere Drive/Avalon Drive/Te Rapa Road intersection in year 2036, are expected to be in the order of 52,000 vehicles per day (vpd) under the current Hamilton City Council land use forecasts and indicative roading layout (compared to 39,000vpd in 2006). On this basis, the upgrading of the existing alignment, particularly south of Te Kowhai Road, was not considered a suitable option for supporting future growth.
The construction phase of the Te Rapa Bypass is indicated in NZTA’s 10-year plan as commencing by 2010/11, subject to completion of land acquisition (currently underway), settlement of three appeals on the designation, and construction funding
Specimen design work started in March 2009. The final design and project construction will be carried out by an alliance team comprising of representatives from NZTA, consulting engineers, planners and construction companies. The contract is expected to be awarded to the successful alliance team by May 2010 and physical construction will commence once the final design is completed.
Noise is a key issue for all parties situated near a busy state highway. NZTA has put considerable effort in assessing existing noise levels and predicting changes in noise levels as a result of the proposed changes. This modeling work suggests that the project will not significantly alter noise levels to existing dwellings. In fact, in many situations, noise levels will reduce as the highway moves away from dwellings.
The receiving environment is expected to change as the Rotokauri structure plan develops. NZTA will reassess the ambient noise levels prior to construction, and update the acoustic design where appropriate.
As part of the consenting process, NZTA and its contractors are required to prepare a management plan for the construction period. This will be used to help identify and manage adverse effects during construction. NZTA recognises that it is essential to work with affected parties in the preparation of the management plan to ensure that appropriate mitigation measures are implemented to minimise effects on the surrounding community.