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Hamilton underpass to be built next year

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A four metre wide pedestrian and cycling underpass that will connect the Hamilton Gardens with Hamilton East is to be built under SH1-Cobham Drive.

Artist's impression of the Hamilton underpass.

Sillary Street looking towards Grey Street, with the underpass entrance to Cobham Drive at right.

A four metre wide pedestrian and cycling underpass that will connect the Hamilton Gardens with Hamilton East is to be built under SH1-Cobham Drive.

The NZ Transport Agency has announced work on the $1.1 million project will start early next year.

It will connect Hamilton East at Sillary Street, near the Grey Street-Cobham Drive corner, with the Hamilton Gardens and shared walkways on the southern side of Cobham Drive.

The announcement of the underpass follows work starting on the Western Rail Trail last week, which will connect Hamilton’s south western suburbs with Hamilton Girls’ High School, the Wintec City Campus and city centre.

Acting Waikato Highways Manager Niclas Johansson says the Transport Agency is working to improve safety, and perceptions of safety, for people who bike.

“Getting a safe pedestrian crossing in place on SH1 Cobham Drive in Hamilton East has been raised with the Transport Agency by many stakeholders over many years.

“This well-lit and level underpass will provide is a safe and user-friendly option to connect the Gardens and existing paths either side of the state highway,” he says.

Four-lane Cobham Drive, which carries a daily average of 28,000 vehicles and has a posted speed limit of 80km/h, has acted as a barrier to cyclists and pedestrians wishing to get to Hamilton Gardens and into the city.

“This extra link will allow cyclists and pedestrians from Hamilton East to connect to existing paths into the city and new paths along state highway 3, as well as the Western Rail Trail which is expected to be completed at the end of this year,” Mr Johansson says.

The project is supported by Hamilton City Council, cycle groups and the Hamilton East community.

Hamilton City Council Transport Unit Manager Jason Harrison says the project will be welcomed by local residents.

“Hamilton is a great city for walking and biking, and we’ve already got around 150km of on and off road cycleways.

“This underpass is another link in connecting our city and we look forward to its opening next year,” he says.

An estimated $12 million is to be spent over the next decade to connect Hamilton with a series of cycleways.

It is anticipated that the total national cycling investment over the next three years, including indirect investment from other infrastructure activities, will be about $350m, delivering over 300km of new urban cycleways and greater connection between routes, making cycling a safer and more attractive transport choice.

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