Analysis and public consultation has led to a favoured route emerging for State Highway 1 between Cambridge and Piarere, but more investigation and final approval is still needed.
The NZ Transport Agency says the project team and stakeholders favour a four-lane expressway for the stretch of highway from south of the Waikato Expressway up to and including the SH1/29 intersection.
The final route will be determined during the next stage of investigations, but the favoured corridor between Karapiro Road and the SH1/29 intersection (and alongside Lake Karapiro) is located north of the current road.
Parekawhia McLean, NZTA’s regional relationships director, Central North Island, says it is important to let people know of the early preference.
“We are telling people that a favoured option has emerged because a project of this scope and size affects many people who live, work, do business or travel through that part of the country,” McLean says.
“A lot of work still needs to be done, like further investigation, but we will be taking people along on this journey with us and keeping them informed along the way.”
The number of deaths and serious injury crashes on the Cambridge to Piarere corridor is expected to reduce by more than 70% through the improvements. Five people died and 14 were seriously injured in crashes on the route between 2011 and 2015.
The favoured option will significantly improve safety by ensuring the road has the latest design and eliminating conflict between local traffic and state highway users.
The corridor will also improve the travel time, ensure the journey takes the same amount of time every time and improve access to places the community use.
Further detailed investigation and reporting now needs to be undertaken before the favoured option – known as E2 in the consultation phase – goes to the NZTA board.
The final decision will be announced later this year.
Meanwhile, $8.1 million in short-term safety improvements get under way on the existing route late this year. These include a wide centre-line, roadside barriers at high-risk areas, upgraded signage and a right-turn bay into Keeley’s Landing.
People can read more about the favoured Option E2 on the project website:
Option E2 shown below: