Waikato Expressway - Huntly Bypass

Delivering a safer and faster connection between Auckland and the Waikato through innovative, sustainable road design.

Waikato Expressway - Huntly Section - Aerial

The Waikato is a rich agricultural and pastoral region in New Zealand approximately 90 miles (150 kilometres) south of Auckland. The Waikato Expressway project will deliver a new 63-mile (102km) corridor connecting agricultural and business centres in the Waikato to Auckland. The four-lane expressway is expected to improve safety and reliability and reduce congestion and journey times. It will also support future economic growth and productivity for the region by providing a more efficient route to move goods and people between Auckland, the Waikato and Bay of Plenty.

Jacobs, in joint venture with WSP, delivered the detailed design for the Huntly Section of the Waikato Expressway, a new 9.6-mile (15.5km) four-lane section that includes nine bridges, two interchanges and 41 culverts.

  • 9.6 miles

    expressway with nine bridges, two interchanges and 41 culverts

  • $ 65 M

    reduction in project costs realized through Value Plus methodology

  • 12 months

    the amount of time design delivery took - three months ahead of schedule!

  • 38 tonnes

    carbon emissions saved through onsite encapsulation

“The Jacobs WSP design Joint Venture team embodies the values of being outcome-focused and striving for excellence in delivery. The collaborative yet driven nature of the team is evidenced in the successful, early delivery of the design and the outstanding outcome that is the Huntly section, opened to traffic in March 2020. Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is proud of the team’s achievements and the legacy of team culture established on this project. The team has delivered a high standard for design and construct infrastructure in New Zealand.”

Peter Murphy

Project Manager, Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency

Huntly section flyover - March 2020

Waikato Expressway - Huntly Section Flyover

All About the Huntly Bypass

The highly challenging, steep and narrow site confines and the surrounding biodiverse terrestrial and wetland areas and streams called for an innovative design approach. The team developed alternative induced trench design to manage stormwater flows and meet the extensive ecological mitigation measures set out by key stakeholders. The induced trenching design uses compressible polystyrene in the trench above the pipe to effectively “unload” the embankment weight from the pipe and shed it instead into the surrounding ground.

River bridges were extended in length (compared to the conceptual design) in order to span the entire river reach, which provided both cost savings in ground treatment avoidance within the river floodplain and better outcomes for the local iwi (people) and the environment.

The team’s collaborative approach to the preparation of the environmental management plan, extensive ecological enhancement and restoration, outstanding visual and landscape outcomes, and substantial carbon emissions savings, demonstrate a commitment to achieving sustainable value for the client, community, local iwi and all stakeholders.

The team implemented a "Safety in Design" approach, bringing together people from across the project team to assess whole of life safety risks of the project which were then either eliminated or mitigated through the design process. They also adopted a "Value Plus" philosophy whereby design elements were interrogated at each design stage in the pursuit of true value. Together, these approaches helped to deliver a safer design concept with reductions in project costs of over $6.5 million (NZ $10 million).

The sustainable outcomes achieved on the Huntly Section have delivered a legacy that will be enjoyed by generations to come.

Award-winning excellence

2020 – Silver Award, Association of Consulting & Engineering New Zealand (ACENZ) Ace Excellence Awards