Geotechnical testing began on Monday as part of the investigations into route options for the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) and Hamilton City Council (HCC) proposed Southern Links project.
The ground investigations will involve hand-drilling, probes, borehole drilling and soil testing, to better understand the geological, soil and water table conditions throughout the project area. Soil samples will be collected and tested for a range of properties including soil strength.
Kaye Clark, NZTA State Highways Manager Hamilton says the joint investigation with HCC will review the possible Southern Links route options and consider freight transport, public transport, rail, walking/cycling, utility services, and both current and future land use. Extensive site assessments and public consultation will be undertaken to determine the best routes and design options for the proposed new transport corridors.
"For example, we need to know how deep the peat flats are at Rukuhia especially in the vicinity of a potential crossing of the main trunk railway, and the stability of the land around the Waikato River so we can assess the feasibility of potential new river crossings."
The main aim of the project at this stage is to plan for the long-term needs of the city, particularly the projected growth and development south of Hamilton in the Peacocke's and Hamilton Airport area and will provide certainty for local residents and developers.
The proposed Southern Links project involves around 32 kilometres of future transport network to the south of Hamilton city, including two new crossings of the Waikato River, 21km of new state highway and 11km of urban roads in the city's Peacocke Structure Plan area.
The new state highway network will link SH1 from Kahikatea Drive in Hamilton to the Waikato Expressway at Tamahere in the southeast, and SH3 from Hamilton International Airport to central and east Hamilton.
When constructed the Southern Links project will reduce congestion, improve safety on SH1 and SH3 in the Hillcrest and Melville suburbs of Hamilton, improve freight flows for industry and be a key part of the city's urban arterial network integrated into the HCC Access Hamilton Strategy.
Hamilton Mayor Julie Hardaker says the investigation is timely as Council is currently undertaking a substantial review of the city's district plan.
"The Southern Links investigation will help planning for the long-term needs of Hamilton's southern sector, particularly the projected growth and development in the Peacocke and Hamilton Airport area."
The Southern Links investigation is a good example of the Council and the NZTA working together to ensure that the future state highway routes will be well integrated with local roads and the planned residential and industrial developments.
The Southern Links investigation commenced in September 2010 and will take approximately two and a half years to complete to the stage of designated routes.
For more information please contact:
Senior Advisor Communications and Engagement
T 64 7 958 7943
M 027 294 2649
F 64 7 957 1437
Further information is available at : www.nzta.govt.nz/southern-links(external link)
T 64 7 838 6803
M 64 21 775 651
F 64 7 838 6761