Ngaruawahia Waikato Expressway Starts


Construction on the Ngaruawahia Bypass section of the Waikato Expressway is now underway.

Transport Minister Steven Joyce today turned the first sod to officially mark the start of construction on Lake Road, Horotiu, just north of Hamilton.

The 12km, four-lane road will link Taupiri with the Te Rapa section of the expressway, which is already under construction. It will include a new bridge crossing the Waikato River approximately 400m south of the existing Horotiu Bridge.

Mr Joyce says he remains confident that the Expressway will be completed by 2019 as steps also continue to be taken on the remaining sections.

Good news for those driving to Hamilton

Waikato Regional transport committee chairman Norm Barker was also at the event and said: “The construction of the expressway goes a long way towards meeting the objectives of the Waikato’s Regional Land Transport Strategy. The strategy supports construction of nationally and regionally significant traffic corridors and our number one priority is the completion of the Waikato Expressway by 2019.

“Having this key national strategic corridor in our region supports our economic growth. It will also help to channel long distance vehicles off local roads and onto major arterial routes.“More than 20 per cent of the country’s road fatalities occur in the Waikato and it is expected the expressway will help to cut the number of fatal and serious injury crashes.

“The expressway will also ensure traffic congestion decreases and travel times are reduced,” Cr Barker said.




  1. Patrick R says:

    Why would the Waikato chamber of commerce support this as except for the construction phase it means regional travelers completely bypassing its members businesses? Shorttermism is rife in business as in politics in this country.

  2. BD says:

    Joyce is not the minster of transport, I am ashamed of him, minister of roads the economic benefits don’t stack up, as long as he is minister.

  3. Jon R says:

    I do like this line which actually is a proven fallacy according to data provided by the OECD “Having this key national strategic corridor in our region supports our economic growth.”

    The data supplied last year reviewing all OECD countries transport policies showed that in NZ massive expenditure on highways, like National´s RONs, actually do not add to economic growth. The best areas in transport expenditure for economic growth were increased investment in local roads, public transport and rail.

    Naturally Steven Joyce knows better than the unbiased internationally respected OECD research.

    Economic growth and RONs do not go together - unless you believe a completely biased Minister of Transport and a political party which receives large amounts of funding from the trucking lobby.

  4. Geoff says:

    Which trucking companies are you thinking of Jon (Reeves)? All the big ones I can think of, like Mainfreight, Toll, Owens, Peter Baker, Daily Freight etc, are strong users of rail, and most are members of rail industry lobby groups.

    The big trucking companies want improved roads, but they also want improved railways, and they are stumping up with the cash to back that desire.

    It was only last week that Mainfreight opened their new Wellington terminal on KiwiRail land, to enable greater use of rail.

    If you’re talking about the RTF, and not the big trucking companies, they are just a collection of small time users. They have little influence over government policy.

    The government (both Labour up to 2008, and National since) have based their rail policies on what big business has told them, which is why Labour bought back rail, and why National is now funding the biggest upgrade to track and rolling stock ever seen in New Zealand railway history.

    I would suggest the government has listened to pro-rail big business more than it has the small time truckies.

  5. Jon R says:

    Geoff Blackmore….so glad you could contribute to this.

    As I mentioned “truck lobby”, so not specific truck companies on the road you went down.

    Just to further correct you, RTF represents all truck companies, large ones and small ones.

    The trucking lobby is fully supportive for the crazy roading projects like that the National party dreamed up to Wellsford, which will be at the expense of the entire north Auckland rail line. Unlike the crazy highway into the mid-northern countryside, the parrellel rail line receives no subsidy to keep it open or upgraded.

    National is spending 11 Billion on highways…and less than one tenth of that on rail. OECD reports show that to be a very unwise decision, and I agree with them.

  6. Patrick R says:

    There is also the sizable road building lobby. Now in theory these guys could build other infrastructure but it is easier to put money and effort into getting to do what they already do.

    Selwood for example claims in public to support the CRL but one on one with MPs he quickly climbs down on that and is really only pushing for roads: He looks even handed to the public and is able to compromise on his apparent wish list without letting go of any roading project his members want. Touché

  7. Dave says:

    Good comments here. Thanks guys. Don’t be hesitant to tell it like it is. Despite the spin and the hype, this Govt’s extreme focus on building new highways flies in the face of a mounting body of evidence that it will hinder economic growth more than it will help it. “Think Big” all over again, but worse this time. Muldoon’s “Think Big” projects were aimed at reducing our dependence on oil. Joyce’s will increase it. What planet is he on?

  8. Geoff says:

    @Jon R - NZ’s biggest truck companies are pro-rail, so the point I was making (which you missed) is that the same people who want better roads, also want better rail. That is, the truck lobby, is also the rail lobby. The anti-rail members of the RTF are the smaller players, and they don’t have much influence over government policy. It’s the bigger players that have the government’s ear, and they have successfully lobbied for much greater spending on both highways and railways.

    And to correct you, rail is getting 4.6 billion over the same period that highways are getting 11 billion. Considering how much greater road use is, that is an amazing result. Rail is getting more funding now than ever before.

  9. Martin says:

    @ Geoff

    You are right and wrong. You and I both know that the money being spent on rail is the funds that was asset stripped from the railways between ’95 and Labour buying it, plus the additional costs associated with inflation, 15+ years of virtually no maintenance etc. Outside of Auckland (and Wellington) there isn’t a whole lot to show for it except for some cheap Chinese trains (and wagons) and the threat of more line closures. I know you love rail but please think a tad bit more logically.


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