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Published: 2006-12-15 00:00:00

Environment Waikato today endorsed $430 million worth of improvements to transport infrastructure across Waikato.

Regional council chairman Jenni Vernon said the council’s endorsements would now be considered by the board of Land Transport New Zealand (LTNZ) as part of a wider assessment of each project.

“These recommendations to LTNZ are the first major steps toward implementing our Regional Land Transport Strategy,” she said.

“Over the next 10 years we will see a number of major projects come to fruition, including key parts of the Waikato Expressway which is the region’s number one strategic transport project,” she said.

“People travelling throughout the upper half of the North Island can expect major improvements in road safety and efficiency.”

The 10-year programme of work mapped out in the recently adopted strategy will be funded by $215 million of ‘regional’ funds derived from the five cents a litre fuel tax and $215 million of ‘Crown’ funds, extra government money announced earlier this year in recognition of the key role the region plays in the national transport network.
 
Regional Land Transport Committee chairman Angus Macdonald said the council was endorsing a massive investment in transport infrastructure.

“These recommendations come on top of more than $300 million worth of state highway improvements already underway or in the planning stages, including the Kopu Bridge replacement and the big SH2 safety projects,” he said.
 
The land transport strategy focuses on investing in key strategic corridors, managing travel demand, encouraging people out of private motor cars into alternative forms of transport, and improving the overall efficiency of rail to improve inter-regional links and encourage freight haulage to shift from road to rail. 
 
As a result of the council’s endorsements, the Waikato Expressway, a nationally significant project and the number one strategic transport project for the Waikato region, will move closer to completion within the next 10 years. It has recommended that funding be made available for the completion of both the Ngaruawahia and Cambridge bypasses and to enable work to start on the Hamilton bypass. 
 
Further projects recommended to start next year include safety improvements at the intersection of State Highways 26 and 27 at Tatuanui, improvements at the Greenwood Rd intersection in Hamilton and also at Awakino to upgrade the SH3 strategic corridor.
 
The committee also endorsed the allocation of $22 million to road safety projects, regional passenger transport services, travel demand management and walking and cycling initiatives throughout the region. This funding will be matched dollar for dollar by territorial authorities, boosting the amount to spend on these services to $44 million.
 
The recommendation to invest $56.2 million in the Maramarua Deviation on SH2 follows similar commitments to commence construction of the Mangatawhiri deviation to improve safety on this black route.

The Wairere Drive corridor forms part of the Hamilton City Ring Road project, a major part of the Access Hamilton Strategy.  Its key function is to act as a distributor for traffic moving around the city and for long haul traffic moving into the city from the existing and proposed state highway network.

The committee is also backing the East Taupo arterial route as a key project of inter-regional significance.
  
The Ngaruawahia Bypass is a large project totalling $176 million. It will be funded 50/50  through the special Crown fund and Land Transport New Zealand’s national fund.
  
The Regional Land Transport Committee includes representatives of Environment Waikato, Land Transport New Zealand, Transit New Zealand, the region’s territorial local authorities, Police, health board, road users, cycling and rail.
 
 Projects endorsed for funding by Environment Waikato.

Project Cost (funded from 5c/litre fuel tax)
Cambridge Bypass (50%) $34 million + $4 million (design)
Kaihere deviation $800,000
Southern links $3.2 million
Ngaruawahia Bypass $8 million (design)
Hamilton Bypass $51.1 million
Wairere Drive $29.3 million
Greenwood intersection $3.2 million
Gallagher intersection $2.6 million
East Taupo Arterial $77 million
Awakino $1.8 million
Total $215 million

 

Project Cost (funded from ‘Crown’ fund)
Maramarua Deviation $56.2 million
Cambridge Bypass (50%) $34 million
Ngaruawahia Bypass (50%) $80 million
SH 26/27 Tatuanui $3.5 million
Ontrack $13 million
State Highway safety $6.3 million
Local road safety $8.0 million
Passenger transport $7 million
Travel demand management $2 million
Walking and cycling $5 million
Total $215 million