State Highway 1 improvements
A new 12.3km section, which bypasses Ngaruawahia and stretches from Taupiri in the north to Horotiu in the south, has been opened this week which makes travelling to Hamilton quicker. I drove this route yesterday, into Hamilton at 5pm and out of Hamilton at 10:30pm and it was refreshingly free of vehicles, providing a safe, smooth, high speed way to bypass the usual sets of traffic lights and slower speeds to get into Hamilton. Of course, my satellite navigation didn’t understand where I was at all.
NZ Transport Agency Waikato Highways Manager Kaye Clark says the approximately $200 million project, built by contractor Fletcher Construction, was completed for around $50 million below its original cost estimate of $250 million.
“This is a crucial piece of infrastructure for the Waikato region and for New Zealand, as it is central to providing safer and more efficient transport links between the business and freight hubs of Waikato, Auckland and Tauranga,” says Mrs Clark.
The Ngaruawahia Section is a crucial link in the Waikato Expressway as it joins to the existing Te Rapa section, and includes interchanges for the yet-to-be-built Huntly and Hamilton sections. Once open the Ngaruawahia section together with the Te Rapa section is expected to provide an estimated average saving of eight minutes to a peak time journey between Taupiri and Hamilton.
“Importers, exporters, tourism operators and commuters will also all benefit from having faster more efficient connections between the Waikato and Auckland,” says Mrs Clark.
State Highway 2 – nine new passing lanes between Napier and Gisborne; one already complete
If you’re heading to Hawkes Bay, or to Rhythm n Vines for New Year, you’ll probably benefit from some new passing lanes becoming available. The first of the nine passing opportunities was officially opened at Te Ngaru by Napier MP Chris Tremain and the Transport Agency’s Highway Manager for Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne Chuck Dowdell.
The passing opportunities are being constructed between now and March 2014 at Kopua Hill and several locations between Lake Tutira and Te Ngaru. The total cost of the design and construction is estimated at around $4 million, which has been provided by the Government.
“We recognise that passing opportunities make a big difference for making people’s journeys easier and safer. It reduces the likelihood of getting stuck behind slower vehicles and subsequently making risky and potentially tragic decisions. What this means is that you are more likely to get to your destination sooner, and in one piece.” said Chuck.
As well as the passing opportunities, the NZ Transport Agency will continue monitoring the impact of heavy traffic on the condition of the road. In addition the National Land Transport Programme has also allocated $9 to $10 million over the next three years to improve the condition of the highway.
The project furthers the Government’s Safer Journeys strategy, which is aimed at preventing death and serious injury by creating a safe transport system through a combination of safe roads and roadsides, safe drivers, safe speeds and safe vehicles.