Project introduction

The Cambridge section of the Waikato Expressway starts south of the existing Tamahere interchange and runs for 16km, ending around 2.5km south of Cambridge where it connects with the existing State Highway 1. It was completed in December 2015.

  • Estimated project cost

    $182 million - construction only
  • Project type

    Road improvements
  • Project status



When complete the Waikato Expressway will be the key strategic transport corridor for the Waikato region, connecting Auckland to the agricultural and business centres of Waikato and Bay of Plenty. It will improve economic growth and productivity by more efficiently moving people and freight.


  • link SH1 south of Tamahere to the existing SH1 south of Cambridge

  • reduce traffic congestion and intersection delays

  • improve safety through Cambridge by significantly reducing through traffic

  • improve safety for local pedestrians, horse riders, cyclists and traffic

  • reduce traffic noise in Cambridge town.

Features of this project

Cambridge section opening

The Cambridge section of the Waikato Expressway opened to traffic on December 16, 2015. A ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open the road to the public was held on December 15, 2015, Minister for Transport, Hon Simon Bridges cutting the ribbon before a community day was held to celebrate the project’s completion.

Cambridge section artworks

The NZ Transport Agency gives careful consideration to the effects our projects have on cultural and historic heritage values. The Cambridge section features three prominent artworks which help connect road users with the history and cultural significance of the area. Have a look at this video which talks about their development.

Cambridge section flyover

Take a flight over the completed Cambridge section of the Waikato Expressway.

Designation Map

  • View map

    For a more detailed map showing the designated route, click through one of the individual map boxes on the image below:

    Overview map of Cambridge/Tamahere. Map 1 of 9 Map 2 of 9 Map 3 of 9 Map 4 of 9 Map 5 of 9 Map 6 of 9 Map 7 of 9 Map 8 of 9 tamahere-cambridge-map-9-of-9.pdf


Project overview

The contract for the construction of the section was awarded to HEB Construction. Construction started in September 2013 and will be completed by late 2016.

  • Planned route

    The 16km long Cambridge section passes to the north and east of Cambridge. It will connect with the existing Tamahere interchange to the north and with the existing SH1 to the south of Cambridge town.

    Within the Cambridge area, interchanges will be provided at Discombe Road, at the existing SH1B and Victoria Road and at the south end of the section, where the Expressway will link with the existing SH1, just south of Cambridge Golf Club.

  • Project stages

    The first stage - “Preliminary Investigation” was undertaken by Opus International Consultants for the Transport Agency (then known as Transit New Zealand) in 1991.

    The second stage – “Secondary Investigation and Specimen Design” was then undertaken by Opus.

    The third stage – “Detailed design and construction”. The project is now in this phase with construction having started in September 2013.

    Following the appointment of HEB Construction as the contractor for the project, the Transport Agency, HEB and the project’s lead designers URS have worked on the final detailed design of the project. This process has allowed the contractor to incorporate any design innovations they presented at the tender stage, into the project’s final design.

  • Southern Links

    The Transport Agency and Hamilton City Council jointly continue investigating the Southern Links project. This investigation aims to identify and protect a future transport network to the south of the city. A route designation has been identified and notified, with a hearing to be held mid-year. 

    The Southern Links work is quite separate from the Waikato Expressway and focuses on the long term growth south of Hamilton. Nevertheless the teams working on both of these projects are in close liaison to ensure plans for Southern Links and the Cambridge section of the Waikato Expressway will work effectively together.

    The construction of the Cambridge section of the Waikato Expressway is within an already designated highway corridor and will progress significantly faster than the Southern Links work.  Any new roads confirmed by the Southern Links study are not programmed for construction within the next 10 years.  Further information regarding the Southern Links project can be obtained from Grant Eccles, Southern Links Consultation Leader

  • Properties on the designated route

    The Expressway passes through land, which has needed to be purchased from a range of individuals, farms and organisations. Processes for managing land purchase or compensation for those affected by the new road are laid out in the Public Works Act and summarised in a useful guide “Landowner’s rights” which is available from Land Information New Zealand or via their website link)


Environmental management

The NZ Transport Agency is committed to improving the contribution state highways make to the environment and social wellbeing of New Zealand by:

  • protecting and enhancing the environment

  • using and managing resources efficiently

  • considering environmental issues early

  • contributing to sustainable outcomes by working with others

  • continually improving environmental performance.

  • Noise control

    Noise levels will comply with the latest standards. Measures used will include:

    • Monitoring of noise during construction and advance notification of any unavoidably noisy construction activity.

    • Haul routes for moving materials will be away from main roads and sensitive residential areas wherever practicable.

    • Landscaped buffer zones and noise barriers to protect local residents, businesses and sensitive areas from road noise.

  • Visual impact, landscaping and environmental measures

    Careful consideration will be given to native wildlife and habitats in order to minimise impact and disruption.

    Landscaping and planting will be used to mitigate the visual impacts of the new road and create a pleasant environment for both road users and others.

    Culverts will be used and plans developed to manage natural water flows and drainage.

  • Significant sites – Cultural, historic and environmental

    To protect this history the following measures will be used:

    • protocols and agreements with local Iwi

    • engagement of cultural heritage monitors

    • liaison with local historical groups

    • on site archaeological controls to ensure that approved processes are followed.


Project Contacts

Visitor Information Centre
More contact info
  • 129 Victoria Road, Cambridge
  • Phone: 0800 924 539
  • Open Mon-Fri 9am-3pm, group bookings can be arranged