Southern Links is a $600 million transport network of state highway and urban arterial routes linking SH1 from Kahikatea Drive in Hamilton to the Waikato Expressway at Tamahere and SH3 from Hamilton Airport to central and east Hamilton.
The project ties in with the projected growth and development in the Peacocke, Tamahere and Hamilton Airport areas.
In 2013 the route protection designations were lodged by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and Hamilton City Council with the relevant councils. At the same time, resource consent applications to Waikato Regional Council for the key new bridges over the Waikato River and Mangakotukutuku Stream were also lodged.
More than 80 submissions were received and a hearing was held before four independent commissioners in 2014.
The commissioners later issued their recommendations to Waka Kotahi, and decision to Hamilton City Council, on their respective parts of the project. The recommendations/decision were to confirm the designations and approve the resource consent applications, subject to conditions, with a lapse period of 20 years.
Waka Kotahi made its decisions on the Commissioner’s recommendations in December 2014 and two appeals were lodged with the Environment Court. The appeals were resolved by negotiation between the parties, with the subsequent Designations being included in the Waipa District Plan on 1 June 2016 and in the Waikato District Plan on 18 August 2016.
Southern Links is still at an early stage of development and no decision has been made about construction. Waka Kotahi does not currently have funding allocated for the project. Getting the designations in place protects the network so it can be built when required in the future.