Funding approval a key milestone for the Waikato Expressway


Construction of the main Ngaruawahia Section of the Waikato Expressway has moved a step closer with the approval of $169 million in funding by the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) Board to build the project.

"This marks another big step forward in the process of building the Expressway," says the NZTA's Regional Director Harry Wilson. "The construction contract is now out to tender and is likely to be awarded in April 2011. Construction will get underway next summer and is expected to take three years."

One of seven components of the Waikato Expressway, the Ngaruawahia Section will bypass Ngaruawahia and Horotiu and will comprise:

  • a new 7km section of four lane expressway between the future Huntly and Hamilton sections of the expressway
  • a new 2.7km section of four lane expressway crossing the Waikato River and linking the southern end of the Ngaruawahia Section with the Te Rapa Section.

Construction work on the Taupiri Link, the first 2.2km of the Ngaruawahia Section through Taupiri village, began earlier this month and is due for completion by November 2011.

"We’re making great progress on the Waikato Expressway and we remain confident we can deliver the ambitious target of completing work within the 10 year target set by government. This would see completion of the whole expressway in 2019."

Waikato District Council Mayor Allan Sanson said the council was very pleased to see the Waikato Expressway progressing so well with the main Ngaruawahia Section on target for construction next summer. 

"Combined with the recent start of construction on the Taupiri Link, our community and all road users will realise the project’s significant safety benefits as quickly as possible."

The Waikato Expressway will be the key strategic transport corridor for the Waikato region.  When completed in 2019, the Expressway will stretch from the top of the Bombay Hills to south of Cambridge, connecting Auckland to the agricultural and business centres of Waikato and Bay of Plenty.  The Expressway will improve economic growth and productivity for Auckland, Waikato, and the Bay of Plenty through more efficient movement of people and freight.

Editor’s notes

The Waikato Expressway sections are currently at the stages described below:

  • Pokeno & Mercer sections totalling 22.6km are completed
  • Longswamp and Rangiriri sections totalling 10.3km are now being investigated and designed
  • Ohinewai section of 7.0km is completed
  • Huntly section of 15.2km is now being investigated and designed
  • Ngaruawahia section of 12.3km is being tendered for construction
  • Te Rapa section of 7.3km is under construction
  • Hamilton section of 21.8km is currently being investigated and designed
  • Tamahere interchange of 2.4km is completed
  • Tamahere section of 4.4km will be in investigation and design in late 2010
  • Cambridge section of 10.4km is being designed

The Waikato Expressway will provide for two lanes of traffic in each direction divided by a central barrier with local roads and interchanges generally serviced by bridges and underpasses.  From the Bombay Hills to South of Cambridge it will be 102km, some 6km shorter than the current State Highway 1.

The Government has identified seven essential state highways that are linked to New Zealand’s economic prosperity, called the Roads of National Significance.  The NZTA is charged with delivering this programme of state highway improvements within the next 10 years. This programme represents one of New Zealand’s biggest ever infrastructure investments and is a key part of the Government’s National Infrastructure Plan and Government’s Policy Statement for transport.

The seven projects are based around New Zealand's five largest population centres. The focus is on moving people and freight between and within these centres more safely and efficiently. The projects are ‘lead infrastructure’ – meaning they encourage economic growth rather than simply responding to it. Currently from north to south the seven projects are: Puhoi to Wellsford - SH1, Completing the Western Ring Route, Auckland - SH16, SH18 and SH20, Victoria Park Tunnel, Auckland - SH1, Waikato Expressway - SH1, Tauranga Eastern Link - SH2, Wellington Northern Corridor - SH1, Christchurch Motorways. More information is available at link).