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From Wednesday July 13 the Waikato Expressway permanent speed limit will increase to 110km/h for a continuous 78km, from Hampton Downs to south of Cambridge.
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency today announced the new 110km/h limit on the median divided four lane SH1 Waikato Expressway between Hampton Downs and Tamahere.
The new speed limits will apply to the Hamilton section of the Waikato Expressway scheduled to open in mid-July, as well as the remaining Hampton Downs, Ngāruawāhia and Tamahere sections currently being upgraded to meet the necessary design and safety standards.
An existing section of the expressway from south of the Tamahere interchange to south of Cambridge is already rated for 110km/h.
Although a blessing ceremony for the new Hamilton Expressway section has been announced for July 12, an actual date for opening it to traffic is still under wraps; but, with today's announcement it could be as early as July 13.
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency says the Waikato Expressway has been designed and built to be one of the best roads in New Zealand and will provide a 35-minute travel time saving from the bottom of the Bombay Hills to Tirau.
It is a key transport route for the Waikato region, connecting Auckland to the agricultural and business centres of the central North Island.
Between October and November 2021 Waka Kotahi consulted on the proposed speed limit changes which have now been finalised. In addition to consulting with the public, Waka Kotahi also consulted with iwi, NZ Police, AA, Ia Ara Aotearoa Transporting New Zealand and the local councils.
Director of regional relationships David Speirs says overall, the majority of the 744 submissions received were in support of what was proposed.
"This road has been selected to have its speed limit increased because of its design and safety features. This is one of the country's best roads.
"The Government invests heavily in our transport system and has upgraded many state highways with a focus on making them safer and more efficient. The speed limit is being increased on the Waikato Expressway because it is a modern road that can support higher travel speeds without compromising safety. The features making it safer for travelling at higher speeds include having at least two lanes in each direction, a central median barrier and no significant curves," Speirs says.
For Hamilton sections, the new speed limits will apply once opened, Waka Kotahi says.
The new permanent 110 km/h speed limit effective from Wednesday July 13 applies to:
- SH1 southbound. From approximately 650m north of Hampton Downs Road overbridge to approximately 1.3km south of Tamahere interchange (Airport Road).
- SH1 northbound. From approximately 1.3km south of Tamahere Interchange (Airport Road) to approximately 650m north of Hampton Downs Road overbridge.
More information on the permanent speed limits and the Waka Kotahi consultation summary, including the submissions can be found at: www.nzta.govt.nz/WEX110.
- by Peter Tiffany, NZ Herald