A consortium of contractors and designers has been awarded a contract to build the biggest roading project to be undertaken in the Waikato, the NZ Transport Agency says.
The 21 kilometre long Hamilton section of the Waikato Expressway will be constructed by a group made up of Fletcher, Beca, Higgins and Coffey (FBHC), in an alliance with the Transport Agency.
The proposed design for the section includes five interchanges, 17 bridges and new connecting roads at Ruakura Road and Resolution Drive.
The project is one of seven sections of the Waikato Expressway, a Road of National Significance (RoNS)identified by the Government as key to unlocking New Zealand’s potential for economic growth.
Once all seven sections are complete, the expressway is expected to cut travel times between Auckland and Tirau by up to 35 minutes and significantly improving safety.
The Transport Agency board has approved $973 million to cover the detailed design and construction of the Hamilton section.
The Transport Agency’s Hamilton highways manager, Kaye Clark says the Hamilton section is the final piece of the Waikato Expressway puzzle.
“It is great be able to confirm the successful tenderer and get the ball rolling on this exciting project,” Mrs Clark says.
“The Hamilton section is the biggest roading project in Waikato’s history - a $973 million stretch of road that will make a real difference to safety and efficiency when it opens in 2020.
“The Transport Agency is looking forward to working with FBHC to deliver this project on behalf of the Government.
“Over the next year the detailed design will be finalised and management plans required under the resource consent conditions will be prepared, ahead of the start of construction in the spring of 2016.”
Earlier this week representatives from the Transport Agency, Tainui Group Holdings, Hamilton City Council and Waikato District Council signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), agreeing to work together to ensure local road connectivity to the expressway.
Mrs Clark says it’s been a very collaborative and satisfying experience working with key partners to make sure the expressway does its job as a part of the wider transport network.
“The expressway connects inter-regional traffic with local destinations which is vital for the economy and for our vibrant communities. We have to get these things right and we can only do that if we partner up,” she says.
Hamilton Mayor Julie Hardaker says the project is important to growth and development in Hamilton and the wider Waikato region.
“We have been waiting in anticipation for completion of the Hamilton section of the expressway and it’s great to have this work now locked in,” she says.
“It is a fantastic project that will deliver considerable value to Hamilton’s economy and lifestyle.”
Tainui Group Holdings chief executive Chris Joblin says connections between the Hamilton section and the planned Ruakura logistics hub will effectively bring Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga closer.
“The expressway is about Hamilton’s future and it’s wider connections within the ‘golden triangle’ of Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga which generates 65 percent of New Zealand’s freight movements, and these volumes are forecast to double over the next 30 years,” he says.
“We welcome the collaborative manner in which this whole expressway project has been conceived in a way that enables the most productive and efficient movement of people and freight between our key business and agricultural centres to help our region thrive.”
Waikato District Mayor Allan Sanson says: “early on we saw the advantages the expressway provided to open up and support new development in the district and region. The Waikato Expressway is attracting exciting businesses, innovative people and also providing lifestyle opportunities for our towns with less heavy traffic running through them.”
The Hamilton section will connect with the Ngaruawahia section in the north. It will join the Tamahere interchange to the south, which provides a link to the Cambridge section of the expressway, which will open to traffic in December.
The Waikato Expressway is scheduled to be complete in 2020 when both the Hamilton and Huntly sections are finished.
The Hamilton section of the expressway is an alliance project being built in partnership between the Transport Agency and FBHC.
The alliance model means that FBHC and the Transport Agency will work together closely to prepare the final design and then build the Hamilton section.
The benefit of an alliance is that it allows for more flexibility to change the design as the construction progresses, with any cost overruns or savings shared between the alliance members.
For more information about the project go to: www.nzta.govt.nz/hamilton(external link)