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Waikato Expressway

Updated: 27 March 2014

The Waikato Expressway project will improve safety and reliability and reduce travel times and congestion on SH1 by delivering a four-lane highway from the Bombay Hills to south of Cambridge. The Expressway is being built in seven sections.

Completed Avalon Drive

The Waikato Expressway will provide 102km of continuous divided four-lane highway and reduce the length of State Highway 1 by 6km. It will provide a further 12km of new or upgraded links and a new bridge over the Waikato River north of Hamilton.

Schematic map

View larger map (PDF, 1.2MB)

Overview

The Expressway will improve economic growth and productivity for Auckland, Waikato, and the Bay of Plenty through more efficient movement of people and freight. Increased capacity will make the route safer and will move through-traffic away from smaller communities like Huntly, Ngaruawahia and Cambridge. This will reduce congestion in those townships and provide journey time savings to through traffic of up to 35 minutes. Important cultural and historic sites such as the Urupa on Taupiri Mountain and Rangiriri Pa will benefit from the improvements provided by the Expressway. The Expressway will provide route safety and faster travel times for tourists driving between Auckland and popular sites in Waitomo, Taupo, Rotorua and further south.

Benefits

The Waikato Expressway will:

  • improve economic growth and productivity for Auckland, Waikato and Bay of Plenty through more efficient movement of people and freight between Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga and Rotorua
  • improve the reliability of the transport network through a more robust and safer road between Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga and Rotorua
  • reduce travel times between Waikato and Auckland
  • support the growth strategy for the central Waikato.

The individual sections of the Expressway are at the stages described below:

  • Pokeno & Mercer - 22.6km sections completed
  • Longswamp section - 5.9km section is in secondary investigation, target opening 2018
  • Rangiriri section - 4.8km section is under construction, opens late 2016
  • Ohinewai - 7km section is completed
  • Huntly section -  15.2km section is in investigation and preliminary design, target opening 2019
  • Ngaruawahia section - 12.3km section is completed, opened in December 2013
  • Te Rapa section - 8km section is completed, opened in December 2012
  • Hamilton section - 21.8km section is in investigation and preliminary design, target opening 2019
  • Tamahere interchange - 2.4km section is completed
  • Cambridge section - 16km section is under construction, opens late 2016

Waikato Expressway target programme

The Waikato Expressway is one of the seven state highways, called the Roads of National Significance, identified by the Government as essential to New Zealand's economic prosperity. The NZTA is charged with delivering this programme of state highway improvements within the next 10 years.

timeline

Design Enabling
Construction Investigation/specimen design

Waikato Expressway map - cartoon style

Waikato Expressway Map - cartoon style.