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National’s petition to extend the Waikato Expressway from Cambridge to Tirau and from Cambridge to the Kaimai Range was launched today, MP for Taupo Louise Upston says.

“This is one of a series of petitions National is launching aimed at saving regional highway projects that are at risk of being canned by the new Government,” Ms Upston says.

“The National Government committed to a large number of important regional highway projects right around New Zealand, including the Waikato expressway extensions. However, Transport Minister Phil Twyford now says a number of these projects are under review.

“Waikato is the fourth largest regional economy in New Zealand, and its central location makes it a nationally significant infrastructure corridor. Strengthening the link between the Bay of Plenty and Hamilton is fundamental to economic growth in the region.

“The extension builds on the $2.3 billion Waikato Expressway, which runs from the Bombay Hills to south of Cambridge. This would Bypass the currently problematic intersections including the turnoffs to Lake Karapiro, Karapiro Road, Fergusson Gully Road and State Highway 29 at Piarere.

“The Waikato Expressway has reduced travel times and congestion – not progressing the extension would mean longer, less reliable journey times and more deaths and serious injuries.

“Improved safety features mean that no one has ever died on one of National’s four-lane highways, and now it is time to extend those benefits to Tirau and the Kaimai Range.

“There have been too many precious lives lost on the stretch of State Highway between Cambridge and Piarere and I’m asking locals to sign the petition and show the Government how serious our community is about the need to ensure the Waikato Expressway is extended as planned. I will be taking this online and physical petition to present to the Government later this year.”

The petition can be found here.

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