Expressway demands get louder

A further two deaths on the stretch of road which the Government cut from Waikato Expressway extensions has further fuelled calls for the Karapiro section to be upgraded.

Four people died in three crashes on Waipā roads in the eight days, including two following an early morning crash last Friday on State Highway 1 at Karapiro.

Two people in a car died at the scene of the crash involving a truck. The other fatal crashes were on Kakaramea Rd just north of the Pirongia Golf Club and on Ōhaupō Road near Te Awamutu both last Thursday.

Waikato Chamber of Commerce chief executive Don Good said  the Piarere crash was a tragedy that should never have happened.

“The Waikato Chamber of Commerce has been campaigning for several years to get the government to reinstate and complete the Cambridge to Piarere section of the Waikato Expressway,” he said.

He said the government call four years ago to cancel the C2P Expressway extension project and redirect funds into Auckland projects that might save commuters 10 minutes had resulted in deaths.

“Politicians need to be held to account.”

Waikato MP Tim van de Molen and National Spokesperson for Transport Michael Woodhouse will address a public meeting at the Karapiro Taotaoroa Settlers Hall on June 14 on the issue. The meeting will start at 5.30pm.

When the project was canned in 2018 more than $4 million had been spent on preparatory work, which involved consulting landowners.

At the time, Hamilton based Labour MP Jamie Strang said the change shifted funds from the Waikato Expressway and other Roads of National Significance to areas such as road safety improvements, rail, coastal shipping and public transport.

He was confident a roundabout and median barriers for the Piarere stretch would result in significant safety improvements.

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