Construction of the SH1 Waikato Expressway Te Rapa section was officially started today with the turning of the first sod by Transport Minister Steven Joyce.
Waikato District Council Mayor Peter Harris helped celebrate the start of construction and his long-time support of the project by operating a digger to excavate the first few buckets of earth.
The sod turning ceremony was followed by a public information day, where construction plans were shared with the local community and stakeholders.
The construction of the $194m Te Rapa section of the Waikato Expressway will support future land use planning and urban design for Hamilton City. It will also improve traffic flows through the city’s northern entrance, near The Base, and will open up further industrial and commercial opportunities for the city and surrounding district.
NZTA Regional Director Harry Wilson says the construction of the Te Rapa Section of the Waikato Expressway will create jobs locally and work for local industry as it gears up to support the project. The intention is that most materials, plant and labour involved in the Te Rapa project will be sourced from this region, including much of the aggregate needed to build the road itself.
Mr Wilson says, “The start of construction at Te Rapa demonstrates the impressive progress being made across the whole Waikato Expressway project. The Waikato Expressway is one of the Government’s Roads of National Significance which support economic growth through investing in the essential lead transport infrastructure, which will unlock economic potential for the region”.
The NZTA is committed to completing the whole of the Waikato Expressway in 2019, with many sections completed before that time. The Te Rapa Section will be completed in early 2013.
Communications and Stakeholder Liaison Manager Waikato Expressway
T 64 7 958 7416
M 027 554 1145
F 64 7 957 1437
The Waikato Expressway sections are currently at the stages described below:
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. These are 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 www.nzta.govt.nz/rons(external link)