Waikato Expressway one step closer with construction of Rangiriri


The NZ Transport Agency has awarded a contract to build the $105 million Rangiriri section of the Waikato Expressway, Road of National Significance, to Fletcher Construction.

NZTA, Waikato Expressway Principal Project Manager, Richard Young, says work on the 4.8km Rangiriri section will start next week with the relocation of services and Transpower lines.

"This is great news for the Waikato. Along with improving safety and reducing travel times, this particular section of the Waikato Expressway also provides the NZTA with a unique opportunity to acknowledge Rangiriri’s cultural and historical significance," Mr Young says.

Rangiriri was the site of the historic 1863 battle of Rangiriri, part of the New Zealand land wars. It is also one of the areas where it was announced King Potatau would be the first Maaori King.

Mr Young says the project will realign the current State Highway 1 to the west, near the Waikato River, avoiding the historic sites of the Rangiriri Pa and battle trench.

"Preserving the historical features of Rangiriri is an important priority for the Agency in partnership with Tangata Whenua," Mr Young says.

The section, expected to be complete by late 2016, includes an interchange at the intersection of State Highway 1 and Te Kauwhata Road and an interchange at Rangiriri. The project will provide for two lanes of traffic in each direction, divided by a central barrier.

Waikato District Mayor Allan Sanson says the construction of Rangiriri brings the region one step closer to completing the entire Expressway.

"It’s great to see another piece of the puzzle falling into place with the start of work at Rangiriri. The construction of this section brings us another step closer to the completion of this vital transport link," Mr Sanson says.

The Rangiriri contract award comes one month after the Agency’s Board approved funding for both the Rangiriri and Tamahere-Cambridge sections of the Waikato Expressway.

The Tamahere-Cambridge contract is expected to be awarded to the successful tenderer in late March.

Specific cultural and environmental aspects of the Rangiriri project include:

  • A symbolic recreation of the historic battle trench through the installation of carved pou on the site.
  • The historic site of Paetai, associated with the crowning of the first Maaori King will be recognised with carved pou and the installation of a plaque, recognising the area.
  • In line with the Agency’s focus on Environmental Sustainability eco-sourced plants grown from seed collected in the area will be planted along the Waikato River.
  • Riparian planting will be carried out at Lake Kopuera and Lake Waikare along with fishery enhancement through the creation of two fish passages from Te Onetea Stream.

Editor’s notes:

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

  • Pokeno and Mercer sections totalling 22.6km are completed
Longswamp – construction to start in 2015, completed by 2018
  • Rangiriri – construction to start in January 2013, completed by late 2016
Ohinewai section of 7.0km is completed
  • Huntly section of 15.2km is now being investigated and designed
  • Ngaruawahia section of 12.3km 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 completed
  • Tamahere and Cambridge sections of 16km is expected to start construction in September 2013

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 centres more safely and efficiently.

The RoNS are:

More information is available at www.nzta.govt.nz/rons