Hamilton Ring Road FAQs

​What is happening in this final section of the Hamilton Ring Road project?

This final section involves constructing approximately 400m of Wairere Drive which is the last link needed to complete the Hamilton Ring Road network. 

Works on site have focused on completing the relocation of key services as well as constructing the new Dey Street service lane which now provides a new access for the residents.

Council has now reconsidered the final connection of Wairere Drive to Cobham Drive, and have resolved to progress a traffic overbridge (cars, cycles, and pedestrians etc) over Cobham Drive instead of the previously planned roundabout (see plan overleaf). The overbridge is part of Southern Links which is the transport network that extends through the Peacockes growth area. Building the traffic overbridge now would provide good connectivity between Wairere Drive and Cobham Drive, and also allow the future access needed to enable significant development in the Peacocke area via a future new bridge extending across the Waikato River.

What is the aim of the project?

The Hamilton Ring Road major arterial transport network is a key component of the Access Hamilton strategy. The extension of Wairere Drive from Crosby Road through to Cobham Drive has been underway since 2011, with over five kilometres now completed along the Eastern side of the city. Once complete it will provide a major arterial corridor designed to take significant traffic flows and enable more people moving around Hamilton now and in the future, whether in cars, walking, or on their bikes.

The aim of changing the scope to a traffic overbridge is to enable a future extension across the Waikato River (via a new river bridge) to allow development to happen in Peacockes area while avoiding sacrificial investment.

What are the expected benefits of the project?

The key objective of the Hamilton Ring Road is to encourage the right traffic to use the right roads. We have already seen significant shift of traffic from congested local streets onto previously completed sections of Wairere Drive. The Hamilton Ring road has already delivered time savings benefits, safety improvements benefits, and enabled sustainable transport initiatives such as improved public transport, and walking and cycling facilities to be planned and built.

A key benefit from changing the scope to a traffic overbridge is that it avoids sacrificial investment in the roundabout. Given the rapid growth, the roundabout would’ve had a 5-10 year period before being removed and this overbridge be built.

How are you connecting Wairere Drive to Cobham Drive?

The new scope for the intersection at Wairere Drive and Cobham Drive is a traffic overbridge. Wairere Drive will go over Cobham Drive and be connected with on and off ramps to provide for all traffic movements.

Pedestrian and cycle facilities will be included in the project scope to enable an appropriate extension of the shared path facilities along Wairere Drive.

What is going to happen to Dey St?

As with the sections further north, Dey Street has been retained to ensure access to the adjacent properties. In this section, Dey Street has been re-constructed to incorporate a new shared path too. This work is largely complete

How will traffic on Wairere Drive be affected during construction?

The already opened sections of Wairere Drive won’t be directly affected as this section is built offline from live traffic.

The layout of the Wairere Drive Cambridge Road traffic signals is in a temporary three legged T intersection which will remain until the final length of Wairere Drive is opened.

How will traffic on Cobham Drive be affected during construction?

A large amount of the planned works can be completed without needing to use major traffic management works, however there will be significant works required to be carried out under temporary traffic management which will affect traffic flows.

There will be impacts on traffic flows during this stage which Hamilton City Council and New Zealand Transport Agency will work closely to find the best way to manage and minimise, however it cannot be entirely avoided. 

Communications are very important to get clear messages to road users about what to expect. A number of measures will be taken including road side signage ahead of time, social media updates through twitter and facebook, and radio advertising. We will endeavour to utilise all platforms to make sure our message gets to you.

How will traffic on Cambridge Road be affected during construction?

Due to changing the scope of works from a roundabout to an overbridge, the construction stage will now be delayed by up to three years. This is because a number of things now need to be completed before we will be ready to start constructing the overbridge. 

Wairere Drive currently stops at Cambridge Road which causes extra traffic to use Cambridge Road and Naylor Street. This was always anticipated as Wairere Drive has been progressively built in stages, and the traffic redistributed onto Cambridge Road is actually a little lower than initially anticipated during earlier traffic modelling.

Once Wairere Drive is connected to Cobham Drive, and other smaller projects are underway/completed, we anticipate that traffic volumes, especially trucks, will reduce. This is because they will have an alternative route in place via Wairere Drive and Cobham Drive. It probably won’t reduce to pre-2013 levels because other developments and growth will have also happened which creates more traffic on the roads.

Council has monitoring equipment continuously in operation and are measuring the impacts and changes in traffic. We believe that the network is performing as good as can be expected under the current conditions.

A range of traffic calming and access improvement works are planned for after Wairere Drive is completed.

NZ Transport Agency will upgrade the Cambridge Road and Cobham Drive intersection after the Ring Road project is complete. This will likely be a set of traffic signals and may further help discourage rat running on Cambridge Road

What are the expected timelines for this project?

Enabling works on Dey Street to create the new property accesses, and to relocate key services is now complete

Before construction can begin, a lot of design work needs to be carried out, additional land needs to be secured, and resource consents need to be obtained. While it’s too early to offer precise timeframes for completion, the earliest the project is likely to be completed is the 2019/20 summer construction season.

What are the expected costs for this project?

Currently the total project cost is $84 million which includes $11 million for this section. A change to an overbridge will increase the costs, and depending on the extent of additional work included, the project could increase by up to $20 million

Building the overbridge now would avoid costly reworks later and reduces the total whole of life project costs.

How has community feedback been captured and used in developing this project?

The community has been involved with the Ring Road journey since the designation was notified in 2005, when extensive consultation was carried out with the public and numerous other key stakeholders. Many key details included in the project came as a result of this process including the shared walking and cycling path, pedestrian crossing facilities, and the input into the landscaping and urban design aspects.

The community was also recently involved in the designation for the Southern Links transport network which overlaps with the Ring Road designation in this location and include provision for construction of the new overbridge.

Ongoing information days and project updates have kept the community informed of progress and critical aspects that have been important to discuss. These have been successful to date and Council will continue to ensure that information about any changes in scope can be well communicated and that the community has ample chance to see and understand the likely outcomes.

How have environmental and cultural issues been taken into account?

Both designations thoroughly address environmental impacts and include numerous conditions to investigate and understand the likely impacts, and then to outline appropriate mitigation steps.

Resource consents have specifically been sought when working with sensitive environmental aspects.

Numerous cultural involvement has taken place throughout the successful delivery of the project to date, and will continue as some of the exciting milestones ahead are achieved.

What pedestrian and cycling facilities are being provided as part of the final section of Wairere Drive?

A new 3 metre wide share path has been constructed along the whole Wairere Drive thus far, and this will be continued through this section also.

Pedestrian and cycling facilities included within the traffic overbridge, and specifically at this location are an appropriate extension of the very popular network already delivered through previous sections of Wairere Drive. The change to a traffic overbridge means that a separate pedestrian only bridge across Cobham Drive is now not required.

Plans we have available are only indicative at this stage, but show the general arrangement and intent with respect to connectivity.

Grade and specifications intend to allow all modes access.

Are you removing any trees as part of the project?

There are about 15 mature Oak trees which unfortunately are probably right in the way of future traffic lane and so these will need to be removed.

We are working carefully to only take out trees that we absolutely have to so that the project can be built and ultimately will operate safely. We will remove the trees in stages as works progress so we can have full knowledge of which ones might be able to stay.

Will there be any works at night?

With a project of this nature there are always aspects best done at night such as road surfacing where there is far less traffic than during the day.

That being said, we are currently planning for the majority of the works to be carried out during normal daytime construction working hours. The project will require large amounts of materials (roading metal, concrete, asphalt, drainage materials etc) which rely on numerous other businesses to supply and support which means that generally for this type of work it would become logistically more difficult costly and time consuming doing it at night. 

When will the rest of Southern Links project be built?

Southern Links is the transport network connecting to and extending through the Peacocke growth area. The whole Southern Links network will be required when growth pressures are sufficient to require the release of that land for development.

Given the rapid growth within Hamilton and the sub-region, components of the Southern Link transport network may be developed earlier than previously anticipated. Just how much earlier is not clear yet.

It is because of this rapid growth and potential for Southern Links beginning early that Council is now constructing the traffic overbridge at the Wairere Drive Cobham Drive intersection instead of the interim roundabout. That makes it easier to respond to growth because we know a connection and a new bridge across the Waikato River in this location is likely to be the first step.

What other works are being done in the area?

The Hamilton Section of the Waikato Expressway has now been awarded with enabling works underway.

NZTA are planning to construct a new pedestrian underpass in the vicinity of Sillary Street (between Grey Street and the Waikato River). The timing has not yet been confirmed but it is expected to be this year.

NZTA will upgrade the intersection of Cambridge Road and Cobham Drive once the intersection of Wairere Drive and Cobham Drive (this project) is finished. The intersection is currently proposed to be changed from a roundabout to a signalised “tee” intersection which is designed to better cater for the traffic flows and to compliment the recently upgraded intersection by Burger King. Traffic signals may also help further discourage rat running on Cambridge Road

HCC are planning to make some improvements along Cambridge Road between Cobham Drive and Wairere Drive. This will be planned to happen after the current works, and will aim to reinforce the road hierarchy in the area through various traffic calming and accessibility works. Separate consultation will take place for what these works will look like at a later stage.

How will footpath connectivity be affected during the works?

The new shared path already open along Wairere Drive won’t be impacted and will remain open.

The informal gravel path running from Hungerford Cres up to Howell Ave will be impacted during the works. It will likely be rerouted and we would also like to make some improvements to it. We are building a new path that connects to it, so it would be nice to make it a bit better where we can as well. This will likely involve easing the grade of some of the steep bits and sealing it.

Signage will be used to inform pedestrians where to expect anything out of the ordinary.

Will access to the Hamilton Gardens at Hungerford Cres be affected?

We will be using Hungerford Cres from time to time for construction access to areas on the southern side of Cobham Drive.

We will be working very closely with the Hamilton Gardens to minimise the disruption to access, and will be aiming to make sure this is always open, especially during important events.

Where can I find out the latest information?

Contact the City Development Unit at Hamilton City Council on (07) 838 6699 or email city.development@hcc.govt.nz​.

Page reviewed: 03 Aug 2016 3:42pm