Expressway changes face of Tamahere

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The once treed view alongside State Highway 1 close to Hamilton has rapidly given way to brown earthworks since early January as the latest section of the Waikato Expressway to effect Tamahere steps up pace.

Construction has begun of a new, two-lane Cambridge Rd off-ramp into Hamilton, east of the current SH1, opposite Cherry Lane.

The off-ramp is part of what will be something of a spaghetti junction which will eventually include an east/west bridge connecting Cherry Lane and Bollard Road with Cambridge Road and Birchwood Lane.

The expressway will be excavated beneath the bridge.

The expressway route from Matangi Rd (at bottom) toward Tamahere (at top) across a gully.
The expressway route from Matangi Rd (at bottom) toward Tamahere (at top) across a gully.

Currently the top soils have been stripped and a retaining wall will be built on the southern side of the Cambridge Rd off-ramp. The wall will level out the surface, which presently has a 15 metre drop into a gully.

Once earthworks have finished the pavement will be formed and the new surface sealed.

Traffic is expected to be switched over from the current SH1 to the new Cambridge Rd off-ramp in September. Construction work for the main expressway route will then be able to start.

The soils where the bridge will be located will need to settle under the weight of large quantities of rock. Settlement is expected to take 2-4 months, with bridge construction scheduled to begin this March.

When completed, the new bridge will be used for construction traffic working on the northern side of SH1.

This section of the expressway, known as the Hamilton section, is due to be completed in 2020.

More information can be found on the NZTA website, by following the updates on the Waikato Expressway Facebook page, or by visiting the visitor centre at Percival Rd, off Ruakura Rd. Opening hours are 10am-4pm, Monday to Friday.

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