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Waikato Expressway contract awarded


The Ngaruawahia section of the Waikato Expressway will be under construction by September this year, providing a boost of over $150 million to the Waikato economy and enhancing regional growth.

The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) today announced the award of a contract for the construction of the Ngaruawahia Section of the Waikato Expressway. The design and construction contract has been awarded to Fletcher Construction. The contract allows for final design and subsequent construction with completion scheduled for 2014.

The Ngaruawahia Section will connect to the local road network with a full diamond interchange at Gordonton Road, near Taupiri, where it will connect to the Huntly section (due for completion in 2019). Running south the route crosses flat farmland and the Waikato River before connecting with the interchange on the existing SH1 near Horotiu which is being constructed as part of the Te Rapa Section of the Expressway. The section includes a new bridge crossing the Waikato River approximately 400m south (upstream) of the existing Horotiu Bridge.

The Ngaruawahia section work is part of the development of the Waikato Expressway as the key strategic transport corridor for the Waikato region. When the Waikato Expressway is completed in 2019 it will stretch from the top of the Bombay Hills to south of Cambridge, connecting Auckland to the agricultural and business centres of Waikato and Bay of Plenty. The Expressway will improve economic growth and productivity for Auckland, Waikato, and the Bay of Plenty through more efficient movement of people and freight.

Waikato-Bay of Plenty regional director Harry Wilson said "The Ngaruawahia section of the Waikato Expressway will provide major safety and economic benefits for the region. Local freight contractors are looking forward to the efficiency gains that the Expressway offers their organisations, with some indicating a potential benefit of 50% in productivity through the new route enabling an additional run each day.

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 to Auckland operators in particular."

Waikato District Council's Mayor Allan Sanson welcomed the NZTA announcement today, saying the route was vital for the development of the district.

Editor’s notes

The following images are available:

  • Artist’s impression of the new bridge crossing of the Waikato River
  • Line drawing map of the Ngaruawahia Section route

The Waikato Expressway sections are currently at the stages described below:

  • Pokeno & Mercer sections totalling 22.6km are completed
  • Longswamp and Rangiriri sections totalling 10.3km are now being investigated and designed with construction due to commence later this year
  • Ohinewai section of 7.0km is completed
  • Huntly section of 15.2km is now being investigated and designed
  • Ngaruawahia section of 12.3km is now entering the construction phase
  • Te Rapa section of 7.3km is under construction
  • Hamilton section of 21.8km is now being investigated and designed
  • Tamahere interchange of 2.4km is completed
  • Tamahere section of 4.4km is in investigation and design
  • Cambridge section of 10.4km is completing the consenting phase and tenders for design and construction will be issued later this year

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. 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