- Waikato Expressway
New Zealand motorway
motorway= Waikato Expressway
state-highway= State Highway 1
direction= North - South
Bombay Hills Auckland Southern Motorway
Pokeno, Mercer, Meremere, Te Kauwhata, Rangiriri
end=Ohinewai (at present)
junctions= Exit 477
State Highway 2
The Waikato Expressway is a
dual carriagewaysection of State Highway 1 in the Waikatoregion of the North Islandof New Zealandand forms part of the link between Aucklandand Hamilton. Currently, the expressway is made up of two sections: the first beginning at the end of the Auckland Southern Motorwayat the Bombay Hills and ending at Longswamp, and the second beginning at Rangiriri and ending at Ohinewai. These two sections are linked by a three lane section of State Highway 1 that will eventually be upgraded to four lanes and thus become a part of the expressway. Further extensions to the expressway are planned, and when completed, the expressway will form a 94.5 km long continuous four lane dual carriageway from the Bombay Hills to the town of Cambridge, 24 kilometres south-east of Hamilton. When completed, Hamilton, as well as several other towns along the current route of State Highway 1 (such as Huntly, Ngaruawahiaand Cambridge) will be completely bypassed by the expressway, allowing through traffic to move much more efficiently.
While not officially designated as the Waikato Expressway until the early 2000's, the upgrading of State Highway 1 from the Bombay Hills to Mercer in 1992 can be considered to be the first step in the construction of the expressway. During this upgrade, State Highway 1 from the end of the Southern Motorway to just north of Mercer was upgraded from two lanes to four, with fully grade separated interchanges constructed at Bombay and the Junction with State Highway 2 just north of the township of
Pokeno. A bypass of Pokeno was also constructed at this time, as well as several partially separated interchanges to allow access for local property owners along the route.
The next stage to be completed was the Rangiriri to Ohinewai in 2003, followed by the Mercer to Longswamp section in July 2006. The Mercer to Longswamp section used the existing two laned section of State Highway one as a carriageway for northbound traffic, while a separate carriageway for southbound traffic was constructed in parallel. A grade separated interchange at Mercer was also constructed, incorporating an overpass for the southbound lanes to cross over the Main trunk railway at this point.
List of motorways and expressways in New Zealand
[http://www.transit.govt.nz/projects/waikatoexpressway Waikato Expressway website]
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