A proposed interchange linking the Waikato Expressway to Hamilton could force the city to spend millions of dollars on roading upgrades, a city councillor has warned.
NZ Transport Agency State Highway manager Kaye Clark yesterday presented plans for a proposed Fifth Ave Interchange at a city council workshop.
NZTA says the proposed Fifth Ave connection on the Hamilton section of the Waikato Expressway will support growth in the city's east and provide a good link between the expressway, the Hamilton Ring Road and the city.
But Cr Dave Macpherson said channelling increased traffic volumes along Fifth Ave could fragment the community and force the council to spend millions of dollars upgrading the city's roads.
NZTA held a public information day on the proposed Fifth Ave Interchange last month.
"I'm not getting caught up in the various options NZTA are proposing, because they're quite determined to save themselves money, I'm concentrating on the big picture on having all your motorway traffic entering Hamilton through Fifth Ave," Mr Macpherson.
"I would expect most of the traffic that comes off at that point, and has business in Hamilton, will end up trying to go through Five Cross Roads. Blind Freddy can see you're going to have to have a significant upgrade to Five Cross Roads. It's currently a roundabout and will most certainly have to be traffic lights. You'll probably have to do the same at the corner of Heaphy Tce and Boundary Rd."
Mr Macpherson said Fifth Ave would also have to be widened to four lanes to cope with the extra traffic and suggested the total upgrade could cost up to $10 million.
"This is work that we've looked at in the long-term future, well out past the 10 years.
"We've decided it wasn't necessary in the current 10-year period. What this [Fifth Ave Interchange] does, because the Waikato Expressway will be finished in seven years, is force us, if it's agreed, to bring all this new expenditure within the 10-year period when we haven't got it budgeted for."
He said NZTA and the council would have "a hell of a lot more" discussions on the Fifth Ave Interchange before he was satisfied with the plans.
Construction of the Hamilton section of the Waikato Expressway is planned to start in 2015 and finish in 2019.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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