The early completion of the Waikato Expressway Taupiri Link was marked with a special ceremony earlier today.
The $7 million NZ Transport Agency project, part of the Ngaruawahia section of the Waikato Expressway was advanced for construction in October last year to deliver immediate tangible safety benefits for the local community and wider economic benefits. It was completed last month, on time and within budget.
The Waikato Expressway is on of seven Roads of National Significance, identified by Government as keys to enabling economic growth in New Zealand. It is scheduled for completion in 2019.
NZTA Waikato Expressway Principal Project Manager Richard Young said constructing the Taupiri Link ahead of the Ngaruawahia Section would improve safety for motorists negotiating the intersection of State Highway 1 and State Highway 1B.
After completion of the main Ngaruawahia section in 2013, the Taupiri Link will provide easier and safer journeys for motorists travelling between Hamilton and Auckland, carrying SH1 traffic for about six years until the Huntly section is completed in 2019.
Mr Young said the NZTA has enjoyed considerable support for the project from the Taupiri community, the Waikato District Council and Waikato Tainui.
"This successful and early completion of this project is an example of what can be achieved through working closely with local communities."
"We have had an excellent partnership with the community and local iwi who were actively involved in finding practical and cost-effective design solutions for the hard landscaping and planting plans for the project."
"By working together we were able to create a design which ultimately delivered $500,000 in savings, and was respectful and reflective of the local community and iwi," Mr Young said.
The finish of the distinctive raised roundabouts, a key design feature of Taupiri Link, were enhanced by stunning motifs that were conceived and designed by local tangata whenua. Each roundabout design is unique and tells a story relevant to the Taupiri landscape.
The plaques unveiled in today's ceremony by Waikato MP Lindsay Tisch, Waikato District Mayor Allan Sanson and Ta Arataura Chairman Tukuroirangi Morgan, tell the story behind the motifs.
The motifs on the new Orini Roundabout at Taupiri Link are called Te Kuao o Taupiri which represents Taupiri Mountain and the smaller/younger mountain which stands in front of Taupiri mountain. Motifs on the new Taupiri roundabout, Te Ao Huri Huri represent the fast-flowing Waikato River and symbolize our fast ever-changing world.