Tamahere-Frankton link study begins

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The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) and Hamilton City Council (HCC) have awarded the investigation contract for Hamilton’s proposed Southern Links project linking Frankton to Tamahere.

The $4.8 million contract, expected to take more than two years, awarded to Aecom NZ Ltd this week will identify and designate a future transport network to the south of Hamilton city.

The proposed Southern Links project involves 32km of future transport network, including 21km of state highway and 11km of urban arterial roads in the city’s Peacocke structure plan area. Once completed, it will link SH1 from Kahikatea Drive in Hamilton to Tamahere and the Waikato Expressway in the south, and SH3 from Hamilton International Airport to central and east Hamilton. The urban arterial roads will establish the key transport network within the Peacocke growth cell and become the building blocks for future urban development.

NZTA State Highway Manager Kaye Clark said in a statement the joint investigation with HCC will review the possible route options and consider freight transport, public transport, rail, walking/cycling, utility services, and both current and future land use. Extensive site assessments and public consultation will be undertaken to determine the best routes and design options for the proposed new transport corridors.

The Southern Links investigation will take approximately two and half years to complete, including formal Resource Management processes to designate state highway and city arterial roads. Public consultation is expected to commence by early 2011 and land owners may be contacted in the next few months as survey and site investigations commence.

Mrs Clark said construction costs had been tentatively estimated at $333 million, and was currently not in NZTA’s 10-year programme. The timing of construction would depend on factors like funding availability and the pace and nature of Hamilton’s growth. The start date has previously been put around 2022.

“Our main aim at this stage is to plan for the long-term needs of the city, particularly the projected growth and development in the Peacocke, Tamahere and Hamilton Airport area,” Mrs Clark said.

“Identifying and protecting the future transport network will enable good long-term planning to be carried out for the city,” she said. “This project is a good example of the Council and the NZTA working together to ensure that the future state highway routes will be well integrated with local roads and the planned new residential and industrial developments.”

When constructed the Southern Links project would reduce congestion, improve safety on SH1 and SH3 in the Hillcrest and Melville suburbs of Hamilton, improve freight flows for industry and be a key part of the city’s urban arterial network integrated into the HCC Access Hamilton Strategy.

Southern Links has been integrated into the Waikato region’s Future Proof strategy, which aims to optimise the planning of land use, regional growth and key infrastructure in and around Hamilton. Future Proof is a partnership between Environment Waikato, HCC, the Waikato and Waipa District Councils and Iwi, with the NZTA as a key stakeholder.

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