Giving the Expressway a Run for its Money – Tilt Trains?

For a long time I have been fascinated with Tilt trains, I have now decided to write a post about them. For those that don’t know a tilting train is a train that is designed to tilt with the curve as banking around it. Think of it this way, when you are riding a bike as you move into a corner you tilt inwards which allows you to take the corner better at a higher speed. By tilting the train combats the centripetal force which causes inertia e.g. when standing you losing balance as you come around a curve. So when the curve goes to the right, the train tilts …
86 Comments

RoNS 2.0 (again)

The idea of continuing the Waikato Expressway all the way to Tauranga including a tunnel under the Kaimai Ranges has once again been come up after Transport Minster Simon Bridges suggested the idea has some merit. Now apparently called the Kaimai Connection it is being pushed by a number government MPs from the region. The Kaimai connection – completing the golden triangle between Waikato and the Bay of Plenty – is being discussed at the highest levels. On Friday, Transport Minister Simon Bridges said he is encouraged by the idea. “It is pretty hard to argue against, at least in principle, the idea of carrying it on to some degree to the Bay of …
107 Comments

Hamilton Bypass to be Bypassed

The NZTA yesterday announced they’ve awarded a $1 billion contract to build another bypass of Hamilton and comes after they spent $200 million on the existing bypass at Te Rapa which opened three years ago. Construction won’t begin till next spring as the contract includes the detailed design work which will take place first. A consortium of contractors and designers has been awarded a contract to build the biggest roading project to be undertaken in the Waikato, the NZ Transport Agency says. The 21 kilometre long Hamilton section of the Waikato Expressway will be constructed by a group made up of Fletcher, Beca, Higgins and Coffey (FBHC), in an alliance with …
67 Comments

The SH1/SH26 roundabout – what is going on?

In this recent post Matt asked why we were still building dangerous intersections. One part of his post caught my eye, specifically proposed changes to the intersection of SH1 and SH26 in the Waikato. The location of this intersection is shown below. You can see that the intersection exists firmly within the Hamilton urban area. Moreover,  I understand the area to the east is planned for residential growth in the future. I.e. there will be more and more residential development to the east. The reason this caught my eye is because the proposed changes, in my opinion, seem likely to result in a horrific clusterfuck of an intersection that will, at a minimum, destroy urban amenity and, potentially, …
29 Comments

Move to the Waikato?

The Prime Minister has suggested a new solution to housing problems in Auckland If you can’t afford a house in Auckland the prime minister has some advice for you – head to Waikato. John Key was in the region yesterday for a less controversial cup of tea at Zealong Tea Estate, before heading up to Pokeno to see what he made of growth in the area. In an interview with the Waikato Times he said moving south of New Zealand’s biggest city ought to be a “serious consideration” for buyers struggling to find the cash for Auckland homes. “They pay less for their home so obviously they’re going to pay …
79 Comments

New Waikato and Bay of Plenty motorways confirmed

The NZ Herald reports: This afternoon Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee is expected to announce funding for two transformational roading projects. A $4 billion four lane motorway between Cambridge and Taupo, extending the Waikato Expressway a further 100 kilometres to the south and an $8 billion 50km motorway from Cambridge to Tauranga which includes a 14km road tunnel. Both projects were hinted at in the 2012 Government Policy Statement for Land Transport Funding. He will announce the projects at a ceremony to celebrate the extension of rail electrification into Britomart station.  “These are critical projects for improving freight efficiency in the North Island,” says Mr Brownlee in a leaked copy of his speech. …
53 Comments

Portugal’s Ghost Roads

In the comments, “Handlebars Matt” provided a link to this video about how nobody is using Portugal’s motorway system – which was built at vast cost over the past decade: I often fear that this is the future for many of the Roads of National Significance that are either under construction or due to begin construction in the next few years. Particular candidates for incredibly low levels of use seem to be: Puhoi-Warkworth. Due to the new road not being much faster than what’s currently there, the Puhoi ramps providing a link between the existing Northern Gateway Road (which does provide a significant time saving) and the existing SH1 likely …
13 Comments

Other RoNS to cut back?

Yesterday’s announcement by NZTA that they are scaling back the Otaki to Levin section of the Wellington Northern Corridor Road of National Significance, from a four-lane highway to an upgrade of the existing road, has some really interesting implications – as Matt commented on in his post last night. Perhaps the assumption that RoNS = new four lane highway has finally been broken and we can start to approach the transport area in a slightly more rational way. Of course there are plenty of other bits of the RoNS programme which ought to be considered in a much more sensible way, as NZTA has managed with Otaki to Levin. Matt’s …
28 Comments

Rod Oram on the holiday highway

A really interesting article by Rod Oram in the Sunday Star Times today, discussing the cost effectiveness of the government’s various roading projects. Here are a few sections: The government told owners of 55 properties last week that their homes or other buildings could be bulldozed to make way for its $1.65 billion Puhoi to Wellsford motorway. It was a tragedy for the owners. But what if the motorway was also a tragedy for 1.4 million Aucklanders? It could well be. The motorway will significantly distort development patterns, thereby blighting the region. It will help push urban development out to 85km north of Auckland’s CBD over coming decades. This will …
30 Comments