The Hamilton Section of the Waikato Expressway will open this week, marking the final chapter of a 30-year roads project to improve safety, reduce travel times, and boost economic growth.
“It’s terrific to see the last 22-kilometre piece of the Expressway falling into place,” says Transport Minister, Michael Wood.
“This road connects Auckland to the agriculture and business centres of the Waikato and will improve economic growth and productivity in the region.”
The full 102km Waikato Expressway is also set to reduce travel times between Auckland and Tirau by 35 minutes for approximately 20,000 vehicles a day.
The Hamilton section is the biggest roading project in Waikato’s history and runs from Ngāruawāhia in the north to the existing Tamahere interchange south of Hamilton.
It’s the final piece in the four-laning of State Highway 1 between Bombay and south of Cambridge.
“This is a milestone moment for Hamilton. Thanks to the ongoing leadership of Waikato-Tainui and including members from, Ngaati Koroki Kahukura, Ngaati Hauaa, Ngaati Wairere and Ngaati Mahanga and local councils on the project,” said Minister Wood.
Work on the earlier sections of the Waikato Expressway began in the 1990s and the road will be one of the safest in the country.
“The Waikato Expressway has been built to the highest safety specifications. As a Government, we are investing significantly into road safety improvements and the expressway is no exception.”
“This road has been selected to have its speed limit increased to 110km/hr because of its modern design and safety features.
“The entire route is lined with central and side safety barriers and it will provide a much safer route for road users, which is future proofed for generations to come. This is one of the country’s best roads,” the Minister said.
The Waikato Expressway was funded though the National Land Transport Fund, with funding for each section applied for as they progressed through their stages, from pre-implementation through to construction.
Despite delays caused by COVID-19, the Hamilton section of the expressway has been delivered under its original budget with the highest safety specifications, said Minister Wood.
He was joined by Kiingi Tuuheitia Pootatau Te Wherowhero VII, local mayors, iwi and stakeholders on Thursday morning to cut the ribbon on the final section of road, which will shortly open for traffic.