The Waikato Expressway, Road of National Significance, reached a major milestone with the NZ Transport Agency lodging last week applications for resource consents and alterations to the designation for the Hamilton Section.
The 21.8km section is the longest and most complex of the Expressway project, says the Transport Agency’s Acting Project Services Manager, Peter Simcock.
“The lodgements represent the culmination of three years of investigation and design work,” he says.
Since the original designation in 2005 there has been significant development in and around Hamilton City, including the development of the Rototuna, Ruakura and Tamahere Structure plans, and roading developments including the Hamilton Ring Road, Mr Simcock says.
Along with assessing the environmental, geotechnical and cultural impacts, the project team has also made assessments of these developments and traffic flows and connectivity with local roads with the intent of providing one integrated network for road users, Mr Simcock says.
“The Hamilton section of the Expressway is designed to encourage and support this planned growth and development including the proposed inland port,” Mr Simcock says.
Highway Manager, Kaye Clark, says “The Hamilton Section is an important part of the Waikato Expressway which supports agreed land use patterns and encourages economic growth not only for the region but for the upper north island.
“This section will provide more effective, safe and efficient movement of people and freight, and is key to unlocking the growth potential of the region and contributes to a thriving New Zealand.”
The Hamilton Section commences at the Lake Road junction with the Ngaruawahia section of the Expressway in the north. It then runs south, to the east of Hamilton, connecting to the existing Tamahere Interchange just south of Hillcrest.
The project comprises of four interchanges and two large bridges over the Mangaone and Mangaonua Stream Gullies.
Hamilton Mayor Julie Hardaker says “The Expressway is crucial to Hamilton’s growth and future transport needs; Hamilton is the hub of the Waikato and the Expressway is an important contributor to the economic success of the region.”
“It’s exciting to see each piece of this 102km Expressway fall into place, and now attention is switching to the Hamilton section.” says Mayor Hardaker.
Mayor Hardaker says “The timeline is for this section to be completed in 2019. It’s going to take a lot of pressure off Hamilton’s main arterial roads, and in anticipation of this timeline, the city has been completing other roading projects, including the Ring Road due for completion in 2016."
Waikato District Mayor, Allan Sanson says this project will significantly improve links within the district as well as enhancing connections to Hamilton city.
“This new section will provide enhanced transport links through our district and into other parts of the Waikato, bringing significant advantage in progressing development in the region.”
“The Waikato Expressway is an acknowledgement of the important contribution communities in our district make to the wider Waikato,” says Mayor Sanson.
Now the applications have been lodged they will be publicly notified by the receiving councils and the public will be invited to make submissions.
A Hearing before Commissioners (appointed by the receiving councils) will be held so the submissions can be made in person. The hearing is likely to be held in early 2014.
At this stage the Transport Agency says construction is planned for the 2015 to 2016 year, dependent on funding, and the route is expected to be completed by 2019 to 2020.
The Waikato Expressway sections are currently at the stages described below:
Pokeno and Mercer sections totalling 22.6km are completed
Longswamp – of 5.9km is now being investigated and designed
Rangiriri – of 4.8km is under construction
Ohinewai section of 7.0km is completed
Huntly section of 15.2km is now being investigated and designed
Ngaruawahia section of 12.4km is under construction
Te Rapa section of 8km is complete
Hamilton section of 21.8km is now being investigated and designed
Tamahere interchange of 2.4km is complete
Cambridge sections of 16km is under construction
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. The Expressway will be 102 km in length from the Bombay Hills to south of Cambridge - some 6km shorter than the current State Highway 1.
More information is available at www.nzta.govt.nz/waikato-expressway(external link) or via Facebook at www.facebook.com/waikatoexpressway(external link).
The Waikato Expressway is part of the NZTA’s roads of national significance programme (RoNS for short), which represents one of New Zealand’s biggest ever infrastructure investments. Once completed, the seven RoNS routes will reduce congestion in and around our five largest metropolitan areas, and will move people and freight between and within these centers more safely and efficiently.
Other RoNS are: Puhoi to Wellford, Auckland’s Western Ring Route, Auckland’s Victoria Park Tunnel (completed in 2012), Waikato Expressway, Wellington Northern Corridor, and Christchurch Motorways. More information is available at www.nzta.govt.nz/rons(external link)