Piarere petition launched

Sign up: MP Louise Upston is pushing for the Waikato Expressway to be extended south.

A petition to extend the Waikato expressway to Piarere is gathering momentum.

National’s Taupo electorate MP Louise Upston launched the petition at Cambridge Lions Trash ‘n’ Treasure market and within two hours had gained over 200 signatures.

“I knew people would be interested, but wow, there were even people standing waiting to sign it, so that’s really good.”

The previous National government spent $4.8M planning to extend the Waikato expressway to State Highway 29. NZTA had mapped out a new road and bought over a dozen properties in the Whitehall-Karapiro area for the project. But the Labour led government dropped the project from its long-term plans.

Cambridge businesses have signed up to house the petition in their shops, and plans are in the works for a public forum to discuss the issue further, possibly with Waikato MP Tim van de Molen.

Like Van de Molen, who invited the transport minister Phil Twyford to visit the controversial stretch of SH1 after his meeting with Karapiro residents last month, Upston wrote to the minister and the associate minister of transport months ago, inviting them to visit the area.

“They both said it’s not a priority, which I think is incredibly disrespectful,” said Upston.

She expected the petition would at the least show the government the level of concern amongst road users.

The extended expressway would have met with State Highway 29 with a roundabout near the Piarere hall. “That’s where the traffic splits in half, those that are going to Tauranga and those that are going south on State Highway 1, that’s the logical point.

“There is not much good having a road that stops at Cambridge when the traffic divides at Piarere.”

The current SH1/SH29 T-intersection at Piarere is deadly, Upston said and the new road would avoid several other treacherous intersections on the existing road.

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