MP goes into bat for expressway

MP Louise Upston appeared before the Select Committee earlier this month.

Taupō MP Louise Upston appeared before the Select Committee considering the extension of the Waikato Expressway recently, presenting a petition with 3,953 signatures in support of the proposed work that is currently under reconsideration by the Government.

Pointing out the inherent dangers in the current Cambridge to Piarere turnoff, Louise urged the committee to proceed with the proposed new section. A resident of the area, Louise pointed out to the select committee that the stretch of road that narrows from the current expressway is not fit for purpose.

Louise highlighted the Karapiro Rd and SH1 intersection which she said forces people to risk their lives every day to cross it.

“This is a road that kills,” she said, telling the committee that nine people have died along there since 2005, with serious injuries being a regular occurrence.

Karapiro Rd is also a common route to Hobbiton, which has seen visitor numbers leap from 33,000 in 2010 to 552,000, and an increase in tourist drivers who are unfamiliar with our roads is adding to the danger.

Increased traffic to Lake Karapiro is also a problem, and Louise told the committee that the turnoff to Tauranga at Piarere is considered by the Waikato Police to be the most dangerous intersection in the entire region. Submissions to the committee are continuing.

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