Waikato Expressway

Waikato Expressway

Waikato Expressway
State Highway 1
Route information
Maintained by New Zealand Transport Agency
Length: 46.3 km (28.8 mi)
Existed: 8 May 1993 – present
History: Under construction
Major junctions
North end: Bombay Hills
Auckland Southern Motorway
  Exit 477
State Highway 2
South end: Ohinewai (at present)
Pokeno, Mercer, Meremere, Te Kauwhata, Rangiriri
Highway system

The Waikato Expressway is a dual carriageway section of State Highway 1 in the Waikato region of the North Island of New Zealand and forms part of the link between Auckland and Hamilton. Currently, the expressway is made up of three sections: the first beginning at the end of the Auckland Southern Motorway at the Bombay Hills and ending at Longswamp, the second beginning at Rangiriri and ending at Ohinewai and the third beginning at Taupiri and ending at Te Rapa. The first two sections are linked by a three lane section of State Highway 1 that will eventually be upgraded to four lanes and thus become a part of the expressway. Further extensions to the expressway are planned, and when completed, the expressway will form a 101.4 km long continuous four lane dual carriageway from the Bombay Hills to beyond the town of Cambridge, 24 kilometres south-east of Hamilton. When completed, Hamilton, as well as several other towns along the current route of State Highway 1 (such as Huntly, Ngaruawahia and Cambridge), will be completely bypassed by the expressway, allowing through traffic to move much more efficiently.[1]


While not officially designated as the Waikato Expressway until the early 2000s, the upgrading of State Highway 1 from the Bombay Hills to Mercer from 1992 to 1993 can be considered to be the first step in the construction of the expressway. During this upgrade, State Highway 1 from the end of the Southern Motorway to just north of Mercer was upgraded from two lanes to four, with fully grade separated interchanges constructed at Bombay and the junction with State Highway 2 just north of the township of Pokeno. A bypass of Pokeno was also constructed at this time, as well as several partially separated interchanges to allow access for local property owners along the route.[2]

The next stage of the Waikato Expressway to be completed was the Rangiriri to Ohinewai section in 2003. The northern half of this section follows the pre-existing highway while the southern half of this section deviates from the original highway in order to bypass Ohinewai and features a diamond interchange on Tahuna Rd.[3]

The Mercer to Longswamp section continues on from the existing expressway between the Bombay Hills and Mercer and was opened in July 2006. This section uses the existing two lane section of State Highway one as a carriageway for northbound traffic, while a separate carriageway for southbound traffic was constructed in parallel.[4] A grade separated interchange at Mercer was also constructed, incorporating an overpass for the southbound lanes to cross over the North Island Main Trunk railway at this point.

As the two dual carriageway sections of the expressway (Bombay Hills to Longswamp and Rangiriri to Ohinewai) are not continuous, the section of highway between Longswamp and Rangiriri was upgraded to a 2+1 road in 2005 with the intention of upgrading this section to four lanes in the future.[5]

In 2009 the Waikato Expressway was announced by New Zealand's minister of Transport, Steven Joyce, as being one of seven "Roads of national significance".[6]

The Mangaharakeke Drive section, originally known as the Te Rapa Bypass, was opened on 3 December 2012 between Horotiu and Rotokauri.[7] Construction of the section of the expressway and Mangaharakeke Drive between Taupiri and Horotiu, bypassing Ngaruawahia, began in late 2011 and was officially opened on 14 December 2013. [8]

Following funding approval in December 2012[9] construction of the Rangiriri and Cambridge sections commenced in 2013, in March and August respectively.[10][11]

Exit list

Territorial authority Location km Exit Destination Notes
Auckland Council (Franklin Local Board) Bombay 471.5 SH 1 Southern Motorway north
Waikato Expressway begins
471.9 471 Great South Road
Bombay, Pukekohe
Bombay Service Centre
Northbound exit and southbound entrance
473.2 473 Beaver Road No east/west connection
Waikato District 474.5 474 Ridge Road
Pokeno 476.0 476 Razorback Road Northbound entrance and southbound exit
476.7 477 SH 2
Coromandel Peninsula, Tauranga
Great South Road
Northbound entrance and southbound exit
Great South Road
Northbound exit and southbound entrance
Pioneer Road Northbound exit is right hand turn
Mercer 483.0 Mercer
Oram Road
Island Block Road
To close when full interchange is built at Spring Hill Road
Spring Hill Road
Full interchange to be built as part of stage 2
Dragway Road
Fram Autolite Dragway
To close when full interchange is built at Spring Hill Road
Hampton Downs Road
Hampton Downs, Spring Hill Corrections Facility
Currently terminates south of the Hampton Downs Road interchange
Waikato District Whangamarino Road South To close upon Longswamp four-laning
Paddy Road To close upon Longswamp four-laning
Hall Road To close upon Longswamp four-laning
Wayside Road Southbound exit only
To close upon Longswamp four-laning
From 2016, terminates north of Plantation Road
Waikato District Te Kauwhata Road/Plantation Road
Te Kauwhata
Under construction, opens 2016
Rangiriri Glen Murray Road
No northbound entrance
Under construction, opens 2016
Currently terminates south of Rangiriri
Waikato District Armatage Road Northbound entrance and exit only
510.0 Tahuna Road
Tahuna, Ohinewai
Currently terminates at Frost Road
Waikato District Great South Road
Currently terminates at Gordonton Road
Waikato District 527.0 SH 1B Gordonton Road
Taupiri, Gordonton
Currently terminates onto Mangaharakeke Drive at Lake Road
Waikato District Mangaharakeke Drive
Te Rapa, Hamilton Central, Ngaruawahia
No southbound entrance
Lake Road Southbound entrance only
Resolution Drive
Rototuna, Chartwell
Link to be built to Resolution Drive/Borman Road roundabout
Greenhill Link
Chartwell, Te Rapa, Hamilton Central
Link to be built to Wairere Drive/Gordonton Road/Crosby Road roundabout
SH 26 Ruakura Link
University, Hamilton Central, Morrinsville
Link to be built east to Ruakura Road and west to Ruakura Road/Silverdale Road roundabout
SH 26 to be diverted via Ruakura Road to meet interchange.
Cambridge Road
Hillcrest, Hamilton Central
Currently terminates at Bollard Road
Waikato District Tamahere 560.4 SH 21
Tamahere, Hamilton Airport
Currently terminates at Tamahere Road
Waipa District Cambridge Road
Northbound entrance and southbound exit
Under construction.
SH 1B Victoria Road
Hautapu, Cambridge
Under construction.
Tirau Road (north)
Northbound exit and southbound entrance
Under construction.
SH 1 Tirau Road (south)
Rotorua, Taupo
Waikato Expressway ends

Mangaharakeke Drive (Te Rapa spur)

Territorial authority Location Exit Destination Notes
Waikato District SH 1 Waikato Expressway north
Huntly, Auckland
Mangaharakeke Drive begins
No east to south connection
Lake Road Northbound exit only
to Waikato Expressway southbound (future)
Waikato District–Hamilton City boundary Horotiu Great South Road/Te Rapa Road
Te Rapa, Ngaruawahia
SH 39A Korua Drive
Raglan, Otorohanga
Hamilton City Wairere Drive/Te Wetini Drive Southbound exit and northbound entrance
Avalon Drive Mangaharakeke Drive ends

See also


  1. ^ "Waikato Expressway".  
  2. ^ "Auckland Motorways 2008". New Zealand Transport Agency. Retrieved 24 January 2012. 
  3. ^ "Rangiriri to South of Ohinewai". Waikato Expressway. Transit New Zealand. Retrieved 23 January 2012. 
  4. ^ "Traffic switches to new lanes at Mercer". Transit New Zealand Press release. 22 April 2004. Retrieved 23 January 2012. 
  5. ^ "Longswamp to Te Kauwhata Four-Laning". Waikato Expressway. Transit New Zealand. Retrieved 23 January 2012. 
  6. ^ "Roads of national significance". NZ Transport Agency. Retrieved 6 June 2011. 
  7. ^ "New length of Waikato Expressway now open to traffic". www.nzta.govt.nz. New Zealand Transport Agency. 3 December 2012. Retrieved 11 December 2012. 
  8. ^ "Waikato Expressway contract awarded". NZ Transport Agency. Retrieved 6 June 2011. 
  9. ^ "Construction funding approved for two sections of the Waikato Expressway". NZTA. 18 December 2012. Retrieved 19 December 2012. 
  10. ^ "Associate Minister marks start of Waikato Expressway - Rangiriri". Waikato Expressway. New Zealand Transport Agency: Waikato Regional Office. Retrieved 13 December 2013. 
  11. ^ Henson, Narelle (31 August 2013). "$250m project brings bypass, bridges and 300 jobs". Waikato Times. Retrieved 13 December 2013.