Waikato Expressway

First concrete cancer, now it’s wobbly steel

The New Zealand Transport Agency has admitted that weak steel began to be installed as piles for bridges on the Huntly Bypass before local test results had come back.

A sample of the cheap Chinese steel had been sent to an independent lab, but contractors Fulton Hogan and HEB began pounding in the piles, expecting the tests would come back positive.

Eleven days later, in January, they came back as failed.

The agency released a statement, saying it wanted to to address “incorrect claims” that independent testing of the steel used in the piles for the Huntly bypass were only ordered after construction of the piles began.

Three industry sources have told RNZ News the huge steel tubes ballooned and deformed after the installation began, and tests were ordered afterwards.

RNZ News asked the agency for a response over the 10 days since the story broke.

An NZTA spokesperson on Friday said test samples were taken on 8 December last year, but were delayed, and installation began in mid-January because contractors Fulton Hogan and HEB Construction thought the steel would pass.

It was a gamble they lost.   So clearly they’ve had to demolish the sub-standard section and do it properly.  Right?  Read more »

People who speed already proving some roads are safe

Unintended consequences of speeding on safe roads is that we know it is safe

The Waikato region has the highest road toll in the country, with 55 deaths so far this year.

Factoring in loss of life, loss of output medical, property damage, legal and court costs, those deaths came at an estimated social cost of $219 million.

The region’s transport committee chair, Hugh Vercoe, said some country roads were not safe at 100 kilometres an hour – while sections of the new expressway, which will link Auckland to Cambridge, could be suitable for a higher speed limit.

“We’re saying what is appropriate, and if the Waikato Expressway, with its four lanes, with separation in the middle, is 100km/h, is that the safe speed limit?

“That may be part of the discussion and we may well say that could go to 110.”

Automobile Association motoring affairs general manager Mike Noon agreed the expressway was being built to a very high standard and could operate safely at 110km/h.

“Many of those roads will be running pretty much at 110km at the moment when they’re uncongested, they’ll be running very close to that,” he said. “But, of course, those people are currently speeding.”

The way we seem to be going is that the very clear 50 /70 / 100 zones are slowly being diluted to make sure that hot spots have the speed limit reduced.  But at least there is some honesty about lifting it where it is safe to do so as well.   Read more »

More populist tinkering by a third term National

The government is considering raising the speed limit on a few short pieces of road.

Speed limits of 110km/h could be on the way.

Associate Transport Minister Craig Foss has revealed the Government is still considering increasing the speed limit on certain roads.

“There are potentially some roads – very high-class, Roads of National Significance – where that is possible,” Mr Foss said today.

“We are doing a bit of work in that space at the moment, no final decisions yet.

“Potentially the Transmission Gully, maybe the new Tauranga Motorway, the new road north of Auckland, the Waikato Expressway – that kind of class of road is potentially able to cope with [an increased speed limit].”

Mr Foss made his comments after being asked about an Automobile Association report that found a majority of its members wanted an increase in the open road speed limit on top-rated motorways to 110km/h.

Read more »

Waikato Expressway gets $1.5B for the next stage

The Government has written another transport cheque, this time for more than $1.5 billion of funding to complete the Waikato Expressway.

It follows yesterday’s lolly scramble of bridges across the Northland electorate.

The expressway project has crossed a chasm in every sense. The Karapiro Gully is the biggest challenge of the fourth section of the Waikato Expressway, and after 16 months of effort it has finally been spanned.

“This is a huge milestone for the project,” says HEB Construction’s Gary Budden. “This is the biggest bridge on the Waikato Expressway and it connects the project up for the north and south sections.”

The bridge’s construction marks the midpoint of the expressway project, now designated as a road of national significance.

The bridge stands just three metres lower than the Auckland Harbour Bridge. It is constructed with 36 50-metre beams and held together with 23,000 bolts.

I’m confused.  Is there a by-election in the Waikato?   Read more »

Why do the Police keep insisting speed kills?

Yet again the Police are in the media claiming that speed kills.

It doesn’t.

There are literally thousands of race car drivers who are still alive who can attest tot he fact that speed doesn’t kill.

What kills is stupidity, and sudden stops into hard objects.

But the Police keep on insisting speed kills.

When you look at their examples too you find that in one of them that speed didn’t kill, in fact the driver is still alive.

One man was detected driving 240kmh on the Waikato Expressway before he was pulled over.

“This speed is simply reckless,” said Grace.

She said that at that speed it would take 12 seconds and 450 meters to stop – given that the vehicle was in good condition of course.

“If you are travelling at this speed, and something untoward happens up to 450 meters in front of you – the chances of you being involved in a collision are high.”

Read more »

Why do Labour and the Greens care so much about Huntly?

There is further confirmation that Labour and the Greens do not want to complete the Waikato Expressway.

Should they win the next election, we could see the most major intercity highway in the country detour into a 2 lane highway through the shittiest town in the country.

NZTA’s Waikato-Bay of Plenty regional director Harry Wilson said the agency had spent $28.9m buying properties along the designated route of the Tamahere-Cambridge section.

The agency has a total purchasing budget of $50.3m and, to date, had made both full and partial property purchases.  Read more »