1. Project completion update
A recent review has seen the completion date for the Hamilton section of the Waikato Expressway moved to mid-2022.
Like many infrastructure projects across the country, the Hamilton section has been significantly impacted by COVID-19. This has added pressure to existing labour and material shortages. The project also encountered more challenging ground conditions than were expected and planned for, Waka Kotahi’s Infrastructure Delivery Regional Manager Jo Wilton said today.
This includes the unanticipated growth of an algal material (iron ochre) in the subsoil drainage network south of Ruakura, which has required a significant redesign to raise more than 800m of the four-lane highway by up to 700mm.
“We also recently discovered peat on Resolution Drive Extension which will need to be dug out and replaced with an engineered fill to minimise settlement of the road,” Ms Wilton said. “This means it will take longer to finish the Hamilton section than originally planned and it’s now expected to open in mid-2022. Waka Kotahi is working closely with the project contractors to ensure this key transport corridor is completed as quickly as possible, while ensuring the work meets our quality and safety standards and expectations.’’
The 22km Hamilton section is the final piece in of the 102km Waikato Expressway – which has seen SH1 four-laned from Bombay to south of Cambridge.
The updated timeframe will also increase the likelihood that a key connection – Hamilton City Council’s link to the Ruakura Interchange – will be completed at the time of the Hamilton section opening. “Our preference is to open the Hamilton section as a complete package, including all connections, and we will continue to work closely with our partners to align timings as much as possible.”
The main focus as the project heads to completion is on pavement construction and sealing as well as completion of Resolution Drive Extension out to the expressway. Safety barriers, lighting, signage and line-marking are well under way.
“We know there are a lot of people who are looking forward to the opening of the Hamilton section as much as we are, and we are confident it will be worth the wait,” Ms Wilton said.
The photo below shows asphalt being laid at the southern interchange.