A public information day held by the NZ Transport Agency last week gave locals the chance to have their say and get the details on the proposed route and interchange options for the southern extension of the Waikato Expressway.
The project aims to extend the expressway from its end point, just south of Cambridge, to the State Highway 29 turn off at Piarere. The change is intended to improve travel reliability as well as reduce the number of serious and fatal crashes which have occurred along the dangerous stretch of road over the years, and at the SH1 and SH29 T-intersection.
“What we’ve set up here today is the opportunity for the community to talk to the project team, we’ve got a few different specialists here, our team leaders… and fill out our survey, which is online,” said the Project Manager Adrian Kahn.
A similar public information day in February determined the corridor – or wider area – that the expressway extension would go through – through the Whitehall/Karapiro Hills, meeting SH29 near the existing intersection. Last week’s event gave locals the chance to weigh-in on a more specific route, and the type of interchange that would connect it to SH29.
“There’s a range of interchanges we could do, a large roundabout, a free-flowing interchange,” said Kahn, adding that all the details were available there on the day and on the NZTA website.
Roger Gordon, a local resident who attended the info day and CEO of Destination Cambridge, said it was a “no brainer” to improve the road. “I was particularly supportive of option A1, which re-unites the Karapiro village on the southern side of the new motorway and makes the existing SH1 a local road,” he said.
Regarding the SH29 interchange, Gordon supported the idea of a simple roundabout, “but with an offramp merge road that influences particularly the international traveller to turn left at the roundabout”.
The project was originally introduced under the National Party’s $10B Roads of National Significance policy. Now with the change of Government, Kahn said they would still continue on as planned.
Kahn said results of the public consultation would be considered alongside other expert information to determine the route of the expressway extension and SH29 interchange. The final decision was expected to be available by the end of the year.
The shortlist of the route and interchange options, as well as feedback submission forms, are available here.