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Published: 2003-07-01 00:00:00

Transit’s new 10-year State Highway Plan is an improvement on the initial draft and recognises the Regional Land Transport Committee’s concerns, Committee Chairman David Peart says.

The Plan includes the requirement to substantially upgrade State Highway 1 between Auckland and Hamilton broadly in the priority order recommended by the Committee. In the next two years the existing three lane section between Longswamp and Rangiriri is scheduled to be widened to allow more frequent passing opportunities and a median will be installed between traffic lanes.

Work on the improvements would start later this year. The Ngaruawahia and Cambridge bypasses are also included in the 10- year Plan. The $7.3 billion plan makes substantial changes to the draft released in January, giving higher priority to non-Auckland projects.

David Peart says he is pleased to see the Committee’s concerns have been heard and taken into consideration.

“We have some of the most dangerous roads in New Zealand and improvements to our safety record and the contribution to the economic growth of our Region appears to be recognised.

“We will keep the dialogue going with Central Government. This is a good start towards completion of the State Highway 1 project, but funding continues to be a constraint.”

Under the draft timeline the Longswamp-Rangiriri section was scheduled for 2006, but construction will now start this year. The Mangatawhiri Deviation SH2 construction will now start next year instead of 2005, the Avalon Drive bypass is brought forward from 2010 to start construction next year. The Te Rapa bypass will begin construction in 2008, instead of 2010.

The Tapapa Curves realignment will now begin construction this year, along with the Ngaruawahia bypass construction, Cambridge bypass and Kopu Bridge. These projects were originally outside the 10-year Plan.

The Regional Land Transport Committee meets next Monday to consider the Plan and changes to Waikato projects.