Construction on the Ngaruawahia Bypass section of the Waikato Expressway is now underway.
Transport Minister Steven Joyce, who today turned the first sod to officially mark the start of construction, says the Ngaruawahia Bypass, is a very important part of the expressway which has been classed as one of seven Roads of National Significance.
Mr Joyce says he is very pleased with the work on the Expressway to date.
Work is already underway on the 7.3km Te Rapa and 2.2km Taupiri link sections. The Taupiri link is expected to be completed late this year, and the Te Rapa link in 2012.
Mr Joyce says the benefits the Expressway will bring are important both regionally and nationally.
“It will make the journey between the Waikato and Auckland shorter and faster. It will also make it safer for people to travel around the Waikato.
“We can expect very real economic benefits for the nation from these major infrastructure improvements.”
Construction of the Ngaruawahia section is anticipated to create up to 300 local jobs, with many more downstream. Around 1,500 workers have already been involved in the Expressway project to date.
"The Government is committed to lifting productivity, creating jobs and helping get our goods to market faster. Strong investment in our state highways and the completion of projects such as this will help deliver on these priorities.”
Mr Joyce says he remains confident that the Expressway will be completed by 2019 as steps also continue to be taken on the remaining sections.
“I look forward to returning to mark further important milestones and I look forward to seeing the project progress at pace over the coming two years.”