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Avalon Drive Bypass opening celebrated in Hamilton

Avalon Drive Bypass opening celebrated in Hamilton

The opening of the Avalon Drive Bypass at Hamilton will reduce congestion, improve safety and separate State Highway One traffic from internal city traffic in the busy Norton Road area, said Transport Minister Annette King and Hamilton West MP Martin Gallagher.

The bypass opened over the weekend, and Mr Gallagher led the official ceremony this morning. He acknowledged the work of both central and local Government in finishing the project and reaffirmed his commitment to transport improvement in the Waikato.

"The Government is committed to investment in Waikato and in making good progress on important projects. This project is one component of a strategy to upgrade the western corridor for greater Hamilton - to assist regional economic development by the efficient movement of people and goods in and through the region".

In a joint statement, Ms King and Mr Gallagher said the route has always been considered strategically important. Avalon Drive became the official State Highway One route through Hamilton city in 1992 when the State highway was moved away from the Hamilton central business district.

Since then, it has served a dual function of a strategic ring road for internal city traffic and the main highway for inter-regional traffic passing north and south through Hamilton. It carries over 25,000 vehicles per day, with ten intersections along a two kilometre route, only two of which are signalled. This has resulted in significant number of drivers taking short cuts through the local streets to come out at the signalled junctions, causing significant delays.

Ms King and Mr Gallagher say Hamilton has borne a large amount of heavy freight and state highway traffic passing through, disproportionate to the city and region's size.

"We know a busy state highway passing through a built up urban area can constitute an increased safety risk for local inhabitants and generally degrade the environment of the community, and that's why this new bypass will be such a great relief," Ms King said.

"This project will streamline the traffic flow, create a more pedestrian and cycle friendly environment through the use of underpasses and provide a cleaner, quieter living environment for the locals." added Mr Gallagher.

As part of the western corridor strategy, the Te Rapa Bypass is also being investigated. Work on design is expected to begin soon and construction to commence in the next three to five years.

ENDS

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