It's open! Huntly section of Waikato Expressway opened to traffic
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Three weeks after the official opening of the Huntly section of the Waikato Expressway the new road appears to have opened to motorists.
Motorists took to social media this morning to express their surprise that they appear to be driving on the new section of road and bypassing Huntly.
Hamilton City councillor Angela O'Leary posted that she was on a bus back from visiting Envirowaste in Hampton Downs when they appeared to be travelling along the new section of the expressway.
A few minutes later Hamilton MP David Bennett, who has been a huge supporter of the Waikato Expressway, posted a photo of the open road from his car saying "the Huntly bypass was apparently open to traffic".
New Zealand Transport Agency then confirmed in a statement that the $384 million Huntly section of the Waikato Expressway had opened just before midday on Monday.
Waka Kotahi Waikato portfolio manager Darryl Coalter said the agency was thrilled to see traffic flowing on the new highway, and thanks motorists for their patience while the finishing touches were applied to the new road.
"This project has been complex and challenging, but also hugely rewarding for all involved. It's fantastic to have traffic using the road and we hope everyone will enjoy driving on it as much as we enjoyed building it."
The Huntly section was officially opened by Transport Minister Phil Twyford and King Tuheitia Pōtatau Te Wherowhero VII on February 14 - but vehicles have had to wait three weeks until their tyres can touch the tarmac.
The following day a one-off Huntly classic marathon was held on the road.
The New Zealand Transport Agency had said after the official opening that it would open to vehicles shortly after the made "finishing touches".
The new road takes vehicles east of Huntly town, up and over the Taupiri Range before linking up with the completed Ngaruawahia section at Gordonton Road.
The Huntly bypass has taken more than four years to build and is the second to last section to be completed as part of the Waikato Expressway.
The entire Waikato Expressway is due to be completed next year and runs 102km from the Bombay Hills to south of Cambridge.
- NZ Herald