The completion of the $41M State Highway 1 Avalon Drive Bypass project in Hamilton will be celebrated today with an official opening ceremony.
Hamilton West MP, Martin Gallagher, will officially open the bypass on behalf of the Minister of Transport, Hon. Annette King. The ceremony will include an iwi blessing, a tree planting ceremony with children from Frankton’s St Columba’s School, speeches, and a bus tour of the project. NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) Board member, Grahame Hall, Hamilton City Deputy Mayor, Pippa Mahood, and ONTRACK Northern Regional Manager, Stephen Collett will also take part in the ceremony.
The new two-kilometre bypass was opened to traffic several months ahead of schedule, on 18 October.
The new bypass has provided a free flowing route that will reduce congestion, improve safety, and separate inter-regional state highway traffic from internal city traffic in the Nawton area.
NZTA Regional Manager Kaye Clark says the bypass has transformed the Norton Road intersection with Rifle Range Road and Lincoln Street and made the adjacent local roads safer and easier to use for cyclists and pedestrians.
“Almost one kilometre of paved pedestrian/cycleways and underpasses have been constructed in the Rifle Range Road Roundabout area, including two shared pedestrian/cycleways that pass under the Norton Road rail bridge. New footpaths have also been constructed in Avalon Drive north, Rotokauri Road and Forest Lake Road.”
The connection last October of Crawford Street to the Rotokauri Roundabout has also improved road safety and sped up turnaround times for trucks by providing a new link between SH1 and the Crawford Street rail container terminal, which serves as an inland port.
The Avalon Drive Bypass consists of:
Mrs Clark says the construction of the Rifle Range Road Roundabout and new Norton Road rail bridge was particularly complex, and involved extensive collaboration between NZTA and ONTRACK. This part of the Avalon Drive Bypass project includes the temporary relocation of Lincoln Street, the lowering of the entire Rifle Range Road Roundabout area by over three metres, the temporary diversion of two railway tracks, construction of a new rail bridge and the lowering of Norton Road by over seven metres to pass under the rail bridge.
Construction of the Avalon Drive Bypass and related works commenced in February 2007, and was originally scheduled for completion in February next year.
Final surfacing works will be carried out in early 2009, after the bypass has been trafficked for four to six months.