Quicker drive? Must be the $84m Ring Road

AARON LEAMAN
Last updated 07:49 16/12/2013
Hamilton Ring Road

Wairere Drive between River Rd and Resolution Drive will be widened to four lanes.

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Hamilton is reaping the benefits of the city's $84 million ring road, with the project shifting more than 16,000 cars off neighbourhood streets each day.

Hamilton City council staff last week gave an update on the ring road which is on target for completion by June 2015.

Large parts of the project are now completed, with work currently focused on four laning Wairere Dr from River Rd to Resolution Dr, and the extension of Wairere Dr from Ruakura Rd to Cobham Dr.

After years of traffic delays and roadworks, residents are now enjoying the rewards of the joint venture by the city council and NZ Transport Agency.

Early traffic data indicates the ring road has shifted thousands of vehicles off residential streets, with about 16,500 vehicles using the section of ring road north of Fifth Ave each day and 14,500 vehicles south to Ruakura Rd.

Council city infrastructure general manager Chris Allen said the project was being delivered to budget and meeting all quality expectations.

Tramway Rd residents Chris and Steve Thomas told the Times traffic volumes outside their house had dropped about 80 per cent since the Ring Road through to Ruakura Rd had opened.

"We've lived on Tramway Rd for 10 years and overnight it became a quiet street," Mr Thomas said.

"The difference was there from day one. It use to take me about 10 or 15 minutes to get out of my driveway some mornings, now I just drive straight out."

The owner of 5x Roads Foodmarket Dilip Thakur said the extension of Wairere Dr had eased congestion at the Five Cross Roads intersection which made his store more accessible to customers.

"Now they can just park outside and drive off without any problem," he said.

Work had started extending Wairere Dr from Ruakura Rd to the Clyde St intersection and was scheduled for completion by May next year.

The section from Clyde St to Cambridge Rd would then start, with a finishing date pencilled for September.

Staff told members of the council's finance committee that land set aside for the extension of Wairere Dr through to Cobham Dr was being enjoyed as "unofficial free parking" by organisations adjacent to the existing Dey St, such as Kirikiriroa Marae and Knighton Normal School.

The removal of this parking had been a key focus during consultation in this area.

Councillor Gordon Chesterman said the marae had desires to expand their campus and the issue of future carparking was a concern to them.

Meanwhile, councillors agreed to hold a workshop in February to look at intersection designs connecting Wairere Dr to Cobham Dr.

Councillor Martin Gallagher said it made "huge logic" for grade separation at the intersection, allowing cyclists and pedestrians to cross Cobham Dr to the Hamilton Gardens.

Council's project development manager Tahl Lawrence said staff were working on replacing stairs linking the Pukete Bridge walkway to Delamere Rd.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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