Safer route for ring road traffic
The latest link in Hamilton's $84 million ring road opens today and is expected to shift thousands of vehicles off residential streets.
The one kilometre section sees Wairere Dr extend south from Ruakura Rd through to Clyde St and runs parallel to a three-metre wide pedestrian and cycle path.
The road, which has a single lane each way, will carry a 60kmh speed limit and feature a chip seal surface for about three months until a low-noise asphalt surface is put down.
Hamilton City Council project development manager Tahl Lawrence said the new Wairere Dr corridor was expected to take 15,000 vehicles off streets such as Peachgrove Rd and the roads surrounding Waikato University.
"Actual time savings will vary considerably between the time of day but it will certainly be a more efficient and safer route," Lawrence said.
The new section includes a connection to the eastern leg of Old Farm Rd; a signalised pedestrian crossing just south of Old Farm Rd, and a traffic lights-controlled intersection at Clyde St.
Last month, councillors asked staff why Wairere Dr had been narrowed to two lanes along the new section and questioned whether it could cope with future traffic volumes.
Lawrence said council had worked within the constraints of the site and traffic modelling showed there would be a "reasonable level of service out to 2021".
Extending Wairere Dr to Cobham Dr is the final link in the ring road project and is expected to be finished by the middle of next year.
Council would build the ring road through to Cobham Dr "without too much delay", Lawrence said, but the section from Cambridge Rd to Cobham Dr was still in the early design stages.
The ring road is 55 per cent funded by the New Zealand Transport Agency.