The NZ Transport Agency says the $458 million Huntly section of the Waikato Expressway will be on show at a public information day this month.
Information, maps and an animated flythrough of the project will be available to view at the Huntly Workingmen’s Club, Glasgow Street, Huntly, on Thursday October 15.
Staff from the Transport Agency and contractors Fulton Hogan HEB will at the club from 3pm until 7pm to answer any questions about the project. Members of the public can attend any time during these hours.
The Transport Agency’s Hamilton project delivery manager Peter Simcock says the information day is an opportunity for the community to see what will be built in their area over the next five years.
“The Huntly section is an important link in the Expressway. This section will improve safety and reliability, and reduce travel times and congestion,” Mr Simcock says.
“It’s a unique project which will also make a sizeable ecological contribution to the area.”
The project will see 15.2km of four-lane expressway built to the east of Huntly and around the back of Taupiri Mountain.
It involves 3.5million m3 of earthworks and a 60 metre deep pass through the Taupiri Range. It also includes over 100ha of forest, bush and wetland enhancement and the permanent protection of a sacred lagoon and two paa.
The project has won three major awards this year for excellence in planning, engineering and resource management.
The Transport Agency and consultants Bloxam Burnett and Olliver won the Nancy Northcroft Supreme Best Practice Award at the New Zealand Planning Institute’s awards.
The project also received silver at the ACENZ awards, where it was recognised for “outstanding and innovative engineering”.
The most recent award is from the Resource Management Law Association for the way the project team collaborated with project partners including Waikato Tainui to develop innovative solutions within a very complex resource management process.
Collaboration in planning the project meant there was no need for major hearings or appeals to the Environment Court.
“This approach has been recognised as a best practice example for engagement by the State Services Commission,” says BBO Managing Director John Olliver.
“The final project designation is estimated to have saved millions in construction costs and the approach taken meant time and money was not spent on a hearing or appeal process, a big win for everyone.”
Waikato-Tainui Chief Executive Parekawhia McLean says “formal recognition of the project is a testament to the genuine willingness of everyone involved to work together to make our roads safe, to build them sustainably and to reduce costs”.
Contractors Fulton Hogan HEB started work in September establishing the main site office at McVie Road, setting up three site huts and establishing environmental controls.
Over the next three months three temporary road diversions will be established at Ralph Road, Orini Road and Waring Road so local road bridges over the Expressway can be built in these areas without disrupting traffic.
The Huntly section is part of the Waikato Expressway, one of seven Roads of National Significance (RoNS) identified by the government as key to unlocking New Zealand’s potential for economic growth.
When complete, the Waikato Expressway will be the key transport corridor for the region, connecting Auckland to the agricultural and business centres of Waikato and Bay of Plenty.
Earlier this year the Transport Agency board approved $1.08 billion to fund construction of the Hamilton and Longswamp sections.
The green light from the board means that all seven sections of the expressway will be built, under construction or ready to go out to tender by the end of 2015.