Waikato Expressway 6 km shorter?, 35 min faster?

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First a bit of history from: The voice of New Zealand Industry Contractor Vol33 No5 June 2009 on the

94.5 kilometre-long $2,000,000,000 to $ 2,300,000,000, Waikato Expressway SH1, upgrade starting at Mercer in the north to just south of Cambridge. Shorten travel time for the total journey by at least 20 minutes and being completed within 10 years

Just to be exact the AA time & distance calculator, gives Mercer to 391 Tirau Road as 94.3km and a travel time of 1h 8m. For $2,000,000,000 to $ 2,300,000,000 the travel time will be reduced by 20 minutes to 48 minutes? Well should the road be as the crow flies (perfectly straight) it would be 78 km long, giving a travelling time of 44 minutes at 100 km/h or 49 minutes at 90 km/h for Trucks)

Microsoft Word - Blog Drafts.doc

Now the NZTA media releases 10 March 2015 tell us

The Waikato Expressway extends from the State Highway 1 and 2 intersection at the base of the Bombay hills in the north to just south of Cambridge.

It will provide 102km of continuous divided four-lane highway and reduce the length of SH1 by 6km. it is being built in seven sections and is on track to open in 2019.

The expressway is a vital piece of infrastructure which will cut travel times between Auckland and Tirau by up to 35 minutes

https://www.google.co.nz/maps/dir/-37.8985566,175.5110867/-37.2 Microsoft Word - Blog Drafts.doc

Again, just to be exact, Google maps gives the distance from “State Highway 1 and 2 intersection at the base of the Bombay hills in the north to just south of Cambridge” as 100km and an existing travel time of 1 hour 16 minutes. The last estimated cost is $2,100,000,000 which comes with a claimed reduction in travel time of 35 minutes, promising a travel time of 39 minutes in 2019?

Again should the road be as the crow flies (perfectly straight) it would be 86 km long, giving a travelling time of 44 minutes at 100 km/h or 49 minutes at 90 km/h for trucks.

Waikato Expressway NZTA 2015 handout maphttps://www.google.co.nz/maps/dir/-37.8985566,175.5110867/-37.1

Finally to look again at the NZTA’s Editor’s notes: “on track to open in 2019” This seems an odd statement in a media release which includes quotes from the NZTA regional director. It would be expected to be common knowledge within NZTA. The NZTA Regional Manager – Planning and Investment  and  NZTA’s Senior Project Services Manager both agreed in mid-2014 at the EPA Ruakura Board Of Inquiry that

05 June 2014 page 2041

“We have always, just to be clear we have always seen that as 2019 construction years, that stretches into mid 2020.”

“We expect the Board to make a decision to release the funding around about September or October of this year”

The media release could have been truer if they said

The Waikato Expressway extends from the State Highway 1 and 2 intersection at the base of the Bombay hills in the north to just south of Cambridge. It will provide 102km of continuous divided four-lane highway and increasing the length of SH1 by 2km. it is being built in seven sections and is on track for completion in mid 2020.

The expressway is a vital piece of infrastructure which will cut travel times between Auckland and Tirau by up to 20 minutes.

6 comments on “Waikato Expressway 6 km shorter?, 35 min faster?

  1. On 7 April I asked NZTA, “Do you have figures for the cost and land take for the 102km of the expressway please?” They’re clearly not keeping track of whether they’re getting value for money, as I’ve still not had a substantive answer. They say they’re compiling the figures and then getting approval to release them. For much the same cost we could have had a 350kph railway cutting travel times by more than 50% and being much safer and emitting less carbon.

    • Hello Phil
      Yes you’re right even though, AA map, Google or Tom Tom would not suggest this route.
      Any way 108 km reduced by 6 km is 102 km brings it to a possible 1 hour travel time. You would need to get the timing just on peak traffic in Hamilton, which doesn’t lasts that long, to maybe find travel time taking 1 h 35 min, very little through traffic if any would get a 35 min saving.

  2. “The last estimated cost is $2,100,000,000”. After 2 months I now have a letter saying “The expected outturn cost of the whole Waikato Expressway project is expected to be between $2.2 billion and 2.4 billion.”, ie about $23m per km. It also says “the Transport Agency currently owns for the construction of the Waikato Expressway is 1,605 hectares. This figure includes all property related to the project currently owned by the Transport Agency. It does not include land that has yet to be purchased for the Longswamp, Huntly and Hamilton sections.” Does anyone have a figure for average rate of income from a hectare of land, many of which are now earning nothing?

  3. Hello John
    Found some numbers that need some explaining page 144 of “Waikato Expressway network plan.
    Grand total $3,149,840 this is 2012 version 2.0
    http://web.archive.org/web/20120519160952/http://www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/waikato-expressway/docs/waikato-expressway-network-plan.pdf
    Version 3.0 it changes Grand total to $2,767,758 and the number you have been given, the $2,112,939 is for Construction only.
    http://www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/waikato-expressway/docs/waikato-expressway-network-plan.pdf
    Property changes from $212,312,899 down to $118,671,038
    Odd to see large decline in property values in the Waikato between 2012 and 2014.

    • Thanks for those useful links. Even odder when those figures only cover the period 2012-20121. It seems the remaining twenty years of construction from 1992 must have been written off. I’ll ask NZTA for more information.

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