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Christmas bonus for Hamilton's transport network

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Hamilton's transport network has been given a multi-million dollar Christmas boost. The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) and Hamilton City Council are to spend $7.5 million to fund a detailed investigation into Hamilton's proposed Southern Links transport project.

Hamilton's transport network has been given a multi-million dollar Christmas boost.

The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) and Hamilton City Council are to spend $7.5 million to fund a detailed investigation into Hamilton's proposed Southern Links transport project.

The project involves 32 kilometres of new road including 20.7km of state highway and 11.3km of local roads in the city's Peacockes Road area. When complete, it will link State Highway 1 from Kahikatea Drive to Tamahere in the south and SH3, from Lorne St to Hamilton International Airport.

The money will be spent on extensive site investigations, including community consultation, to determine the best routes and design options for the proposed new transport corridor.   Investigations will also take into account the Waikato region's FutureProof strategy which aims to best manage land use and plan regional growth and key infrastructure.

NZTA Waikato-Bay of Plenty State Highway manager Kaye Clark said the investigation stage was an essential step towards the Southern Links project securing future design and construction funding.  It also meant that the transport corridors could be secured and designated, meaning they would be allowed for in future land use planning.

The total construction cost of Southern Links has been tentatively estimated at $333 million and at this stage, is set to begin in the 2022/23 financial year.

"Construction however, will depend on issues like funding availability and on the extent and nature of Hamilton's growth. Both will have a significant impact on potential timing so that date isn't set in stone" Ms Clark said.

She said the Southern Links project was key to developing an integrated transport network for Hamilton and beyond as Southern Links would eventually link to the Waikato Expressway in the south of the city. The investigation would consider the long-term needs of the city, taking into account projected population and industrial growth.

"Once built, the new roads will reduce congestion within Hamilton city, improve freight flows for industry and be a key part of the city's urban arterial network," Ms Clark said. "There's certainly a long way to go yet but securing the investigation funding is a significant milestone."

HCC Transport Committee chair Dave Macpherson said it was important for Hamilton that transport corridors in future growth areas like Peacockes were identified and protected for the future.

"We need to work closely with NZTA and Waipa District Council in particular to ensure that a range of sustainable transport options will be available to support the projected growth," he said.

Ms Clark said the investigation contract for Southern Links was likely to be awarded in mid-2010.

For more information please contact:

Julie Hannam
Regional Communications Advisor
NZ Transport Agency
T 07 958 7238
M 027 294 2649

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