Funding for construction of the Rangiriri and Tamahere-Cambridge sections of the Waikato Expressway has been given the green light.
Chief executive Geoff Dangerfield said the New Zealand Transport Agency board's approval of funding for the project meant construction on both could start next year and the agency would remain on track to complete the expressway by 2019.
"This is great news for the Waikato and for New Zealand. The expressway will reduce travel times between Auckland and Tirau by about 30 minutes. It will significantly reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries from crashes, it will increase the highway's capacity and it will reduce fuel costs and make a major contribution to economic growth," Mr Dangerfield said.
The 4.4km Rangiriri section of the expressway will connect to the Longswamp section to the north, connecting to the already completed Ohinewai section.
The 16km Tamahere-Cambridge section is the southernmost part of the expressway, beginning 11km south of the Hamilton CBD and ending about 2.5km south of Cambridge.
Mr Dangerfield said the certainty provided by the Government's decision to increase petrol excise duty and road user charges had allowed the board to approve construction funding for the projects last week.
"The certainty that this guaranteed funding stream provides means we can proceed with confidence in developing and delivering these and other major projects which will enable economic growth and provide safer journeys."