Wiremu Tamihana Drive, the new road between Devine and Airport roads, will be open from Monday, December 15.
Named in honour of the Ngati Haua chief and peacemaker who is Tamahere’s first person of historic significance, the road will be blessed by Ngati Haua to ensure the safe passage of people who use it.
After months of rough roads and stop/go controls the welcome opening of Wiremu Tamihana Drive means there will no longer be access to Airport Road from Newell Road and vice versa.
Last year, as it celebrated 150 years of publication, the NZ Herald named Wiremu Tamihana, the New Zealander of the year … 1863.
The paper said the Herald editor of 150 years ago would probably have chosen Governor George Grey as New Zealander of that year – and undoubtedly would have been wrong.
In hindsight, the paper said, Tamihana was the far better man, whose aim was not war but to broker an arrangement with the Crown under which Maori could live under their own laws and customs.
In other ramifications for local road changes there is already no right turn on to the State Highway on-ramp from Devine Road and drivers wanting to head towards Cambridge on State High 1 will need to use Wiremu Tamihana Drive, turn left on to Airport Road and right at the second roundabout.
The speed limit on Wiremu Tamihana Drive is 50km per hour.
The creation of the new link road and the closure of Newell Rd at Airport Rd is expected to reduce through traffic using Newell Rd between SH1 and Airport Rd (SH21) to access Hamilton International Airport.
Tamahere councillor Wally Hayes said the road changes are expected to eliminate 400 to 500 cars a day along Newell Rd.
“This in turn will help make for safer walking and cycling conditions for a rapidly growing residential area,” he said.
As well, the project provided local road options which would be required when the Hamilton section of the Waikato Expressway was completed in 2020, Cr Hayes said.
“It has taken the best part of seven years from when I gained NZTA support for this idea and it is very satisfying that this project has finally become a reality.”
A community event to officially open the new road will be held in the New Year.