The new State Highway 1 Avalon Drive Bypass in Hamilton will be opening to traffic this weekend.
The new two-kilometre bypass will provide a free flowing route that will reduce congestion, improve safety, and separate inter-regional state highway traffic from internal city traffic in the Nawton area.
With the completion of the chip seal layer, the bypass will be trafficked for four to six months before the final surfacing works are carried out in early 2009.
NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) Regional Manager Kaye Clark says the bypass has transformed the Norton Road intersection with Rifle Range Road and Lincoln Street and made the adjacent local roads safer and easier to use for cyclists and pedestrians.
“Almost one kilometre of paved pedestrian/cycleways and underpasses have been constructed in the Rifle Range Road Roundabout area, including two shared pedestrian/cycleways that pass under the Norton Road rail bridge. New footpaths have also been constructed in Avalon Drive north, Rotokauri Road and Forest Lake Road.”
The connection last October of Crawford Street to the Rotokauri Roundabout has also improved road safety and sped up turnaround times for trucks by providing a new link between SH1 and the Crawford Street rail container terminal, which serves as an inland port.
The Avalon Drive Bypass consists of:
Mrs Clark says the construction of the Rifle Range Road Roundabout and new Norton Road rail bridge was particularly complex, and involved extensive collaboration between NZTA and ONTRACK. This part of the Avalon Drive Bypass project includes the temporary relocation of Lincoln Street, the lowering of the entire Rifle Range Road Roundabout area by over three metres, the temporary diversion of two railway tracks, construction of a new rail bridge and the lowering of Norton Road by over seven metres to pass under the rail bridge.
Construction of the Avalon Drive Bypass commenced in February 2007, and was originally scheduled for completion in February next year.
Mrs Clark says the combined efforts of NZTA, contractor Brian Perry Civil, engineering consultant Opus International Consultants, and ONTRACK enabled the bypass to be completed several months ahead of schedule.