The Te Rapa section of the Waikato Expressway will be under construction by September this year, providing a near $170 million boost to the Waikato economy and unlocking the growth potential of northwestern Hamilton and Horotiu
The Te Rapa section of the Waikato Expressway will be under construction by September this year, providing a near $170 million boost to the Waikato economy and unlocking the growth potential of northwestern Hamilton and Horotiu.
The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) today announced a $168.7 million funding package to design and construct the 7.2 kilometre Te Rapa section of the Waikato Expressway on State Highway 1. Of the total cost, the NZTA will provide $156.7 million. The balance will be provided by Hamilton City Council ($11.7 million) and Waikato District Council ($0.3 million).
This is the first major Waikato Expressway contract awarded since the Government announced a 32 per cent increase for the region’s roads in August last year.
The design and construction contract has been awarded to a three-way partnership - Fulton Hogan, Opus International and NZTA. The contract allows for final design and subsequent construction. It includes widening 1.6km of Avalon Drive plus the construction of 5.6km of new road, largely across farmland, from Avalon Drive to north of Bern Road at Horotiu. The Avalon drive widening will be designed to allow for the future construction of bus lanes.
The Te Rapa section will connect to the future Ngaruawahia section of the Waikato Expressway to the north. The Ngaruawahia Expressway section is due for completion in 2014 and when complete will reduce driving times between Auckland and Tirau by 35 minutes, as well as improve safety.
The Te Rapa route will include two major interchanges, one at Horotiu with full access as well as a central interchange half way along providing connections for northbound and southbound traffic and allowing for future growth in the area.
As part of the project, a new bridge will be built over the North Island main trunk railway line near Horotiu. Two new local road bridges will also be built along the new Te Rapa route to allow for future local roads to be built as part of the Rotokauri structure plan development.
A major new signalised intersection will be formed where the new road merges with Avalon Drive near Gilchrist Rd. Gilchrist Rd will be realigned to form a new four-lane arterial road allowing traffic to cross under and access the state highway. A new entrance to Wintec will be constructed from Gilchrist Rd.
Construction on the Te Rapa project is expected to begin in September this year and be complete by 2013.
The section is one of seven remaining sections of the Waikato Expressway to be built. When complete, the Waikato Expressway will provide a four-lane route from the Bombay Hills to south of Cambridge.
Waikato-Bay of Plenty regional director Harry Wilson said the Te Rapa section of the Waikato Expressway would provide efficient access to the industrial and commercial markets in Hamilton west, including the Crawford Street freight hub. It would also address growing congestion issues at Te Rapa and allow for planned development in the north-western part of the city.
“We’ve worked closely with Hamilton City and Waikato District to ensure that what’s planned complements their land use and structure planning and to ensure that this section of the Waikato Expressway provides a high level of service and safety well into the future,” Mr Wilson said.
“The Waikato Expressway is about much more than reducing travel times and delays. It’s about driving economic growth for the region and for the country. Having this section completed will be a massive boost for Hamilton in particular.”
Hamilton City Council’s transport committee chair Dave Macpherson welcomed the NZTA announcement today, saying the route was important for the development of the city.
“It is part of a wider integrated transport network planned for the Rotokauri area which will see the development of local road arterials, public transport, walking and cycling,” he said.