NZTA progress on Waikato Expressway shifts up a gear


The NZ Transport Agency is starting work on the next development stage of the Hamilton section of the Waikato Expressway.

The NZ Transport Agency is starting work on the next development stage of the Hamilton section of the Waikato Expressway.

A contract for the secondary investigation and specimen design of this 21.8 kilometre-long section of the expressway has been awarded to Opus International Consultants Ltd.  

The work will three years to complete and includes a review of the preliminary design for the route of the Hamilton section; more detailed geotechnical, engineering and environmental investigations; and securing resource consents required for construction earthworks, stream crossings and stormwater drainage.

The NZTA’s Regional Director for Waikato, Harry Wilson, says when the work is completed the NZTA will be in a position to call for tenders to construct the Hamilton section.

“This work marks another significant step towards delivery of a complete Waikato Expressway by 2019,” Mr Wilson says.  “The benefits from the expressway will include the reduction of travel times between Auckland and Tirau by 35 minutes, safer roads with a reduced number of fatal and serious injury crashes, and economic growth for the region.”   

The Waikato Expressway is one of seven key state highway routes identified by the Government as Roads of National Significance.  It will be the key strategic transport corridor for Waikato.  When completed in 2019, the expressway will connect Auckland to the agricultural and business centres of Waikato and Bay of Plenty, and improve economic growth and productivity for all three regions through more efficient movement of people and freight.

The Hamilton section will pass to the east of the city, connecting with the Ngaruawahia section at the Lake Road junction in the north and the existing Tamahere deviation just south of Hillcrest, in the south.   Besides regional benefits, the expressway will also reduce traffic congestion and improve safety on Hamilton’s local road network by removing through traffic.

Hamilton City’s mayor Bob Simcock, says that through Access Hamilton, his council is investing significantly into the city’s strategic arterial network to enable people to move around safely and efficiently.

“The NZTA’s latest development on the expressway project will complement the considerable commitment the city has been making, and will help achieve the economic gains the government is looking for,” says Mr Simcock. “It’s important that the NZTA manages the committed timetable, and that we continue to work together through this design phase to ensure that the transport networks are fully integrated."

Waikato District Council’s acting Mayor, Clint Baddeley, also welcomes progress on the development of the Hamilton section of the expressway.

“The focus of Waikato District Council was the completion of the whole of the expressway for the economic benefit of the greater Waikato region,” says Mr Baddeley. “This has been heightened by the fact that come 1 November, Waikato's boundary will be directly next to Auckland’s boundary and the creation of a single city on the other side of the Bombay Hills.”


Additional information

The Waikato Expressway sections are currently at the stages described below:

  • Pokeno & Mercer sections totalling 22.6km are completed
  • Longswamp and Rangiriri sections totalling 10.3km are now being investigated and designed
  • Ohinewai section of 7.0km is completed
  • Huntly section of 15.2km is now being investigated and designed
  • Ngaruawahia section of 12.3km is being designed
  • Te Rapa section of 7.3km is under construction
  • Hamilton section of 21.8km is now being investigated and designed
  • Tamahere interchange of 2.4km is completed
  • Tamahere section of 4.4km will be in investigation and design in 2010
  • Cambridge section of 10.4km is being designed

The Waikato Expressway will provide for two lanes of traffic in each direction divided by a central barrier with local roads and interchanges generally serviced by bridges and underpasses.  From the Bombay Hills to South of Cambridge it will be 102km, some 6km shorter than the current State Highway 1.

The Government has identified seven essential state highways that are linked to New Zealand’s economic prosperity. These are called the Roads of National Significance.  The NZTA is charged with delivering this programme of state highway improvements within the next 10 years. This programme represents one of New Zealand’s biggest ever infrastructure investments and is a key part of the Government’s National Infrastructure Plan and Government’s Policy Statement for transport.

The seven projects are based around New Zealand's five largest population centres. The focus is on moving people and freight between and within these centres more safely and efficiently. The projects are ‘lead infrastructure’ – meaning, they encourage economic growth rather than simply responding to it. Currently from north to south the seven projects are:

  • Puhoi to Wellsford - SH1
  • Completing the Western Ring Route, Auckland - SH16, SH18 and SH20
  • Victoria Park Tunnel, Auckland - SH1
  • Waikato Expressway - SH1
  • Tauranga Eastern Link - SH2
  • Wellington Northern Corridor - SH1
  • Christchurch Motorways.

More information is available at link)