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Accident Spotlights Waikato Expressway Urgency

Media statement
March 9th, 2005

Accident spotlights Waikato Expressway urgency

Last Friday March 4th, as a result of an accident on State Highway 1, traffic was detoured from Te Kauwhata across country and back to Bombay adding 55 minutes to the Hamilton-Auckland trip.

The length of the detour was needed because SH 1 in the area is in such a poor state.

The same evening traffic returning to Hamilton was reduced to a single lane and an average of 40 km per hour from the Bombay Hills for the whole 70 kilometres to Hamilton. At times speed was cut to 20 km per hour, and stopped.

"The lack of progress in completing construction of the 4 lane Waikato Expressway is of serious concern to the nation", says Stephen Selwood, newly appointed chief executive of the NZ Council for Infrastructure Development.

"Transit's current 10 year plan shows completion for four laning the Auckland-Hamilton highway is more than ten years away. This is an unacceptably long delay which threatens the growth of processing and manufacturing in the region.

"Why would business risk investing more on new plant and equipment, and on employing Waikato people when they can't rely on the timely export of their products/services?

NZCID echoes and applauds the recent industry and local authority call on Government for more funding for Waikato roads.

"We see no reason why the entire expressway from Auckland to Cambridge could not be completed within ten years if funding were made available.

The economic and road safety benefits would far exceed the costs of the projects", Mr Selwood said.

ENDS


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