Seal of approval for new section of ring road
A new section of the Hamilton Ring Road opens today and is expected to bring immediate benefits to Fairview Downs residents.
The greenfield belt, which once ran parallel with Tramway Rd, has now been replaced by an arrow-straight section of roading.
The 2-kilometre section, which features an abundance of attractive native planting, extends Wairere Dr south, from Crosby Rd to the Fifth Ave roundabout.
Work on the alignment, which cost about $18 million, started in January last year.
The section features two lanes in each direction, a new overbridge at Carrs Rd and a 3-metre wide shared walkway/cycleway.
The speed limit will be 80kmh.
Hamilton City Council's city development manager, Andrew Parsons, said the new alignment would take "through traffic" off existing residential roads.
"Part of the strategy is to have a purpose-built arterial corridor, Wairere Dr, to pick up the through traffic and allow us to return those residential streets back to the community.
"That improves safety and amenity on those local roads."
Mr Parsons said the Carrs Rd overbridge, together with traffic lights at the Wairere Dr-Powells Rd intersection and the Fifth Ave roundabout would help Fairview Downs residents to travel across the ring road.
Meanwhile, Wairere Dr, south of the Fifth Ave roundabout, has also been opened to maintain vehicle access to properties on the old eastern section of East St.
"You will be able to go down there but it will effectively be a no-exit street at this point until we get the road over the [east coast main trunk] railway line to Ruakura Rd, which is for next year," Mr Parsons said.
"The point we will start to see some real benefit is when we make the connection through to Ruakura Rd; that will be really good for Hamilton."
The Wairere Dr-Ruakura Rd intersection is under construction and is expected to open early next year.
Today's section-opening will also trigger changes to the road layout on Tramway Rd, with a temporary traffic island installed across the intersection of Tramway Rd and Fifth Ave.
The temporary island will be replaced with a permanent island once the new Wairere Dr extension is open through to Ruakura Rd.
Mr Parsons said the purpose of the traffic island was to encourage non-local traffic to use the ring road instead of using Tramway Rd as a rat run.
The southern end of Tramway Rd will also become a cul-de-sac from today to enable the continued construction of the ring road across Tramway Rd.
Across Hamilton, strong progress continues to be made on other aspects of the $84m ring-road project.
The upgrade of the River Rd-Wairere Dr intersection is expected to be finished in December, while the four-laning of Wairere Dr, from Pukete Rd to Pukete Bridge, is planned to be finished early next year.
Mr Parsons said motorists should continue to expect delays at the River Rd-Wairere Dr intersection until the upgrade was completed.
"Unfortunately, because of the small site and the heavy traffic using it, delays will continue.
"November and December are busy months of the year, so we expect no change [to] current traffic flows, but we are confident of completing work on this intersection before Christmas, if the weather plays its part.
" In the meantime we recommend that people avoid the site if possible, car pool, avoid peak travel times through the site, use the bus service, walk or cycle if practical."