Enough is enough! That’s the message coming through loud and clear at the public meeting attended by over 40 people on Friday 6 April 2021 on the Cambridge to Piarere (C2P) extension of the Waikato Expressway that was cancelled by the Labour Government, with some calling for a protest march to highlight the seriousness of the situation.
This Easter weekend yet again told a story of near misses or accidents and bumper to bumper slow traffic and from what I heard, the people have had enough of talking. It’s time for action.
Joined by Michael Woodhouse MP, Spokesperson for Transport, we talked about the lack of funding allocated by the Government for the construction of the planned extension to the expressway. The current safety work being done is not enough to reduce the risks to road users.
In addition, the upgrade of the SH1/29 intersection to a 2-lane roundabout construction is only starting in late 2022 and Waka Kotahi NZTA’s proposing the installation of Intersection Speed Zones (ISZs) with no funding available.
The Fergusson Gully Road remains an issue and suggestions include the passing lane be moved to make the start of the road longer.
I provided an update on actions I’ve taken since our December 2019 public meeting which includes writing to Ministers, Hon Michael Wood, current Minister for Transport, Hon Phil Twyford, previous Minister for Transport and previous minister Hon Julie Anne Genter, Associate Minister of Transport at the time.
Neighbouring MP Tim van der Molen and I facilitated meetings between Karapiro School and Waka Kotahi NZTA and I’ve written letters to Waka Kotahi NZTA about the SH1/SH29 roundabout, their plans for Karapiro Road near Karapiro School, the update of the Karapiro Road intersection and speed reduction signs.
Sadly, despite all the above, the Government has not come to the party to reinstate the plans to build the C2P extension and ignored community concerns about increasing risks with more traffic when the Waikato Expressway is complete following the opening of the Hamilton section at the end of this year.
It’s a section of State Highway 1 which forms part of New Zealand’s most important transport corridor between Auckland-Hamilton-Tauranga which accounts for a significant proportion of all road freight in the country.
The high volumes of traffic and freight in the area and the impact that has on travel times and increasing safety risks required an urgent investment in high-quality roading infrastructure to future-proof the transport links in the area and improve road safety.
As our towns grow, so do the communities living in them and the road needs to be fit for purpose and of good enough standard to accommodate the safe movement of people and goods. It currently isn’t.
I have urged the Minister to reconsider the decision to delay building this important roading project and address short term safety needs along this route. I’ll keep fighting hard to get this road built and I will be updating the community as soon as I hear from him.
If you couldn’t attend the meeting and would like to express your support of this important cause, you can take action at https://louiseupston.national.org.nz/cambridge_expressway
You can also sign up to receive updates about the next steps here.
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