Safety improvements for high-risk intersection at SH1 and SH29


One of the most talked-about infrastructure projects in Waikato is due to get underway in October this year. The high-risk T-intersection at State Highway 1 and State Highway 29 will be replaced with a two-lane roundabout.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency recognises this is welcome news for the community, who have been calling for safety improvements at this intersection for some time now.

“This is an important project in one of New Zealand’s most critical transport corridors and the intersection improvements will help people get where they are going safely when traveling on a high-volume traffic route,” Waka Kotahi Regional Manager of Infrastructure Delivery, Jo Wilton, says.

The Environment Court has accepted the applications for resource consent and notice of requirement to alter designations for activities associated with the project.

“Waka Kotahi is preparing to go to tender and hope to have the contract awarded by August this year, with construction starting at the beginning of the earthworks season, hopefully in October,” Ms Wilton says.

“We acknowledge the work iwi have put into making this happen, as well as the regional and local councils,” Ms Wilton says.

The Piarere site is a confluence of three destinations: South Waikato, Bay of Plenty and North Waikato as well as the three iwi in the area, Ngaati Koroki Kahukura, Ngaati Hauaa and Raukawa. It is therefore a significant project.

Funded through the New Zealand Upgrade Programme, the new roundabout allows connection with a potential future expressway and will accommodate any future walking and cycling connections as there will be two underpasses for cyclists: one under SH1 Tīrau leg and one under SH29 Tauranga leg.

“A roundabout is an inherently safe intersection treatment as it gives everyone, whatever direction they approach, a slower speed environment whatever the time of day or night. A good roundabout design provides equal access and manages energy if a collision is to occur, therefore minimising severe injury,” Ms Wilton says.

The long-term Cambridge to Piarere expressway project is currently at the stage of securing route protection. This involves processes under the Resource Management Act to allow Waka Kotahi to require designations and to obtain regional resource consents to ensure we are ready to proceed if and when funding is made available. Once route protection is secured, funding must be confirmed then the next stages include detailed design, tendering and construction.