The 2012 KiwiRAP report rated the Huntly to Hamilton stretch of State Highway 1 (SH1) as the highest risk road in the country based on the number of fatal and serious injury crashes per kilometre. Between 2007 and 2011 there were 41 fatal or serious injury crashes on the route.
This section will significantly improve safety for the more than 17,000 motorists who travel this route every day.
The project includes a 15.2km four-lane expressway built between the completed Ohinewai and Ngaruawahia sections.
It will connect to the existing Expressway at Ohinewai with a grade separated interchange providing north facing ramps connecting to the existing SH1. As part of this connection a bridge carrying Expressway traffic will be built over the existing SH1 and the North Island Main Trunk railway.
The section will connect to the completed Ngaruawahia section at the Gordonton Road interchange.
There will be four local road bridges at Ralph Road, McVie Road, Orini Road and Waring Road. The project also includes four Expressway bridges to take Expressway traffic over the Mangawhara Stream, Whangamaire Stream, Komakorau Stream and Mangatoketoke Stream.
This project will also make a sizeable ecological contribution to the area, with more than 100ha of forest and bush habitat enhancement, including landscape and restoration planting of riparian, forest areas and wetland.