The bypass was constructed east of and parallel to the existing Avalon Drive. The bypass road connects to the existing roads at each end with roundabout intersections. The existing section of Avalon Drive remains as a local road to service local traffic, cyclists, residents and businesses.
This route is considered strategically important in the state highway network. Avalon Drive became the official SH1 route through Hamilton city in 1992 when the state highway was formally moved away from the busy Hamilton central business district (CBD).
The former Avalon Drive served the dual function of providing a strategic ring road for internal city traffic, as well as the main highway for inter-regional traffic passing north and south through Hamilton. It was also an essential link for emergency services.
The previous highway carried over 25,000 vehicles per day and has a posted speed of 60km/h. There are 10 intersections along this 2km section of Avalon Drive and only 2 of them are signalled. The difficulties in pulling out of the unsignalled intersections have resulted in a significant number of drivers taking short cuts through the local streets in Nawton to come out at the signalised junctions, which are heavily congested at peak times.
The new bypass reduces congestion, improves safety, and separates inter-regional state highway traffic away from internal city traffic in the Nawton area.