NZTA updates plans for $1.25 billion East West Link between Onehunga and Mt Wellington

Transport chiefs have released a new animation showing how they expect a major new highway in Auckland will ease congestion.

The East West Link between Onehunga and Penrose is designed to improve travel between State Highways 1 and 20.

The road is a priority project for supporting the long-term growth of Auckland and the continued economic development of New Zealand, the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) says.

It includes a new four-lane road on the northern side of the Mangere Inlet connecting SH20 at Onehunga and SH1 at Mt Wellington. The estimated cost is $1.25 billion to $1.85b.

The two-minute video details some of the features along the route of the new road, including walking and cycle paths joining Onehunga to the Sylvia Park shopping centre, a new coastal boardwalk and new planting.

NZTA says the design in the video has evolved from community feedback, including open days and engagement with local residents and community groups over the past three years.

“The changes made as a result of feedback can be seen in the animation, including the lowering of the East West Link into a trench along the length of the Onehunga Wharf,” said NZTA Auckland highway manager Brett Gliddon.

“This trench provides the opportunity for future development of the land above it and creates a seamless connection between the wharf and the town centres of Onehunga and Mangere Bridge. This design responds to one of the biggest areas of concern for the local community.”

Another change is an elevated interchange at Great South Rd, with on- and off-ramps in both directions from the East West Link to Great South Rd and Sylvia Park Rd.

“The business community and transport operators identified concerns with the efficiency and reliability of a standard intersection between the East West Link and Great South Rd. We listened to that and developed the interchange as a result, which will allow local traffic to separate from state highway traffic,” said Gliddon.

“At the same time, we have included a cycleway through the area, maintaining dedicated off-road cycle and pedestrian connections.”

The animation also shows how the new road will enable better access to the waterfront at Mangere Inlet which will be transformed with 16km of new walking and cycle paths.

Wetlands will treat stormwater from the area before it flows into the harbour.

Source:

  • NZ Herald

Auckland to Whangarei motorway on the cards

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A motorway from Auckland to Whangarei has been flagged by Transport Minister Simon Bridges. Speaking at today’s sod turning to mark the start of the $709.5 million Puhoi to Warkworth motorway, Bridges said over time the motorway would extend to Whangarei, a distance of 162km.

Prime Minister John Key and Bridges turned the first sod during a tour of roading projects north of Auckland, including a new roundabout in the township of Waimaukau. Bridges said the Government had pledged to build a four-lane road of national significance from Puhoi to Wellsford and the entire corridor to Whangarei was very important.

“A lot of people talk about the Brynderwyns and the need for a very strong solution there. “You have got Northport up closer to Whangarei, which is again justification for doing a much more significant job all the way. “Whether that’s to road of national significance standard or something different to that I couldn’t say at the moment … but as Transport Minister I’m very attracted to progress more significant road improvements, not just through to Wellsford but up to Whangarei,” Bridges said.

He said realistically it was not five or six years away, but probably a decade of more away. New Zealand Transport Agency chairman Chris Moller said the agency was looking at the Whangarei to Auckland connection but a motorway could be 30 years away. The Puhoi to Warkworth motorway extends 18.5km over difficult terrain from the Johnstone Hills tunnels just south of Puhoi to just north of Warkworth.

sssCritics have nicknamed it the “holiday highway” to the intense annoyance of Northland leaders. The new motorway will have two lanes in each direction divided by a central median with a safety barrier. Both Bridges and Rodney MP Mark Mitchell stressed the safety benefits of the new motorway. Said Mitchell: “Safety is definitely a No 1 concern. Unfortunately the piece of road we have to use at the moment comes with hazards and we have too many serious injuries and fatal accidents on that piece of road.”

The project is the second public private partnership (PPP) for a state highway, after the Transmission Gully motorway in Wellington. Under the latest PPP, the Northern Express Group will finance, design, construct, manage and maintain the Puhoi to Warkworth motorway for the 25 years following a five-year build. The motorway is due for completion in 2021. Incentives built into the contract will ensure the motorway is one of the safest in New Zealand with lower grades and be more resilient to natural disasters and road closures.

Bridges said a decision had not been made on whether to toll the new Puhoi to Warkworth motorway. Route protection of the next stage of the motorway from Warkworth to Wellsford is underway. The NZ Transport Agency is planning to release an indicative route early next year. The Automobile Association is delighted that construction is officially underway on the Puhoi to Warkworth motorway extension. “Many people from outside Northland don’t understand what a vital step forward this is for us,” AA Northland District Chairman Steve Westgate said. “It’s not just about safer, quicker and more reliable journeys, it’s about the economic opportunities that come with it. This project will improve our connections with Auckland, New Zealand and the world.”

Source:

  • Bernard Orsman
  • NZ Herald

 

Western Motorway Upgrade – Auckland

 

Source: NZTA

SCIRT, an update

getimage (7)The multi billion-dollar programme to fix Christchurch’s broken roads, bridges, footpaths and underground pipes is more than three-quarters complete.

But do not expect to see an end to the road cones and detours any time soon.

‘‘There is still a big programme to deliver even after Scirt winds up in December 2016,’’ said Christchurch City Council infrastructure rebuild general manager John Mackie.

The Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team (Scirt), which is funded by the council and the Government, has completed 78 per cent of its repair and rebuild programme and should have the balance of its work wrapped up by the end of next year.

As at the end of August it had repaired or replaced 420 km of wastewater pipe, 42 km of stormwater pipe, 79 km of freshwater pipe, and more than 1 million square metres of road.

It has also fixed or replaced 84 pump stations and reservoirs, 126 bridges and culverts, and 124 retaining walls.

That work has so far cost $1.72 billion. It is forecast another $472.5 million will be spent between now and the end of the programme.

Scirt executive general manager Ian Campbell said the team was working very hard to ensure it had all the construction it was scheduled to do completed by the December 2016 deadline.

Scirt’s priority had been to fix the worst of the damage first, starting in the east, but as the programme moved towards conclusion more work would begin in the city’s west.

With most of the major repair projects either completed or under way, some lower priority jobs could be tackled.

‘‘We are now getting into more patch repairs and trenchless stuff. The work is becoming more patchy and piecemeal so what that will look like for people is they will see us moving around a bit more. The traffic management will change more often because we’ll be doing small amounts of work in more locations,’’ Campbell said.

‘‘We appreciate the support of the community . . . It has been a long slog for them putting up with the road works and we just hope we can count on their support for one more year.’’

Mackie said he was ‘‘reasonably satisfied’’ with the progress that had been made on repairing and rebuilding the city’s damaged horizontal infrastructure, but there was still a lot to do.

Not all of that work would be covered by the Scirt programme because of funding constraints.

‘‘Not everything in the city will be fixed. There will still be work to do,’’ Mackie said.

‘‘The biggest issue is funding. We could do so much more if that wasn’t a constraint, but we have to work within the means of the organisations – Crown and council.’’

Once Scirt was wound-up, responsibility for any outstanding repairs would fall to the council.

It was working on a programme to prioritise those repairs and would start with main arterial roads before turning its attention to small collector and local roads, Mackie said.

Source:

  • Lois Cairns
  • The Press

$4.2 billion for Auckland transport

mainmotorway_620x310Auckland is receiving 30 per cent of a national land transport budget of $13.9 billion over the next three years.

The Government’s Transport Agency has this afternoon announced that the Super City – with about one third of the country’s population – will receive $4.2 billion for state highways, local roads, public transport, walking, cycling and road policing.

About $3 billion – or just over 71 per cent – of that will be Government money from fuel taxes paid into the National Land Transport Fund, leaving Auckland Council to pay the remaining $1.2b.

That does not include projects outside the land transport programme for which the council is allocating Auckland Transport an additional $1 billion, including for the City Rail Link.

Aucklanders will also contribute $520m of “external revenue” such as parking fees and fines, and public transport fares.

Their city’s share of the overall “partnership” pot from the national programme will include $1.175 billion for public transport, $960 million to maintain highways and local roads, and $91 million to improve cycling and walking.

That is additional to $24.75m the Government said last week it would contribute to Auckland from its $100m urban cycleways fund.

Today’s transport announcement opens the way for early starts on a $1 billion package of road freight connections between the Southern and Southwestern motorways, and also commits funds for the first time to design an extension of the Northern Busway, from Constellation Drive to Albany.

It includes $48m to continue preparations for a $760m motorway extension to Warkworth, which the Government hopes will be built as a public private partnership from late next year.

The transport programme has allocated $268m to widen the Southern Motorway beyond Manukau, and has increased the budget to complete the Waterview Connection and related projects along the Northwestern Motorway on Auckland’s long-awaited western ring route from $2b to $2.27b.

The national allocation represents a 15 per cent increase in land transport funding from previous 2012-15 programme.

Transport Minister Simon Bridges says the $13.9b programme represents the largest ever spend on land transport, and will deliver on Government priorities of increasing economic growth and productivity, improving safety, strengthening regional transport networks, lifting investment in public transport and cycling, and ensuring value for money.

The Government’s share of the national programme amounts to $10.5 billion.
Roads will account for $10.3b of the programme.

That comprises $6.3b for state highways which are fully Government-funded and $4b for local roads, about half of which are financed by councils and their ratepayers.

Almost $2b has been earmarked for public transport nationally, a 21 per cent increase, and investment in cycling will more than triple – to $251m.

But the Green Party says the programme is focussed too heavily on “carbon-polluting transport infrastructure, rather than building a clean, balanced and efficient system for the 21st Century.”

Transport spokeswoman Julie Anne Genter said National had chosen to continue spending more than $1b a year “on a few carbon-polluting motorways that haven’t even passed a business test.”

She commended the increase in money for urban clearways, but criticised the Government’s “foolish and unjustified policy of not funding rail infrastructure from the National Land Transport Fund, even though rail is obviously a form of land transport.”

Regional allocations for the coming three years:

Allocation to other regions for the coming three years include:

  • Auckland – $4.223b
  • Northland – $460m
  • Waikato – $1.812b
  • Bay of Plenty – $591m
  • Wellington – $1.439b
  • Hawkes Bay – $245m
  • Taranaki – $187m
  • Manawatu-Whanganui – $450m
  • Gisborne – $120m
  • Greater Christchurch – $1.575b
  • Canterbury (outside Christchurch), Otago, Southland and West Coast – $977m
  • Upper South Island – $221m

Source:

  • NZ Herald
  • Photos: Brett Phibbs

No extra money for Christchurch roads

getimage (3)The city council’s hope of getting more money from the Government for fixing Christchurch’s damaged roads and underground pipes have been dealt a blow.

An independent review into the cost of fixing the city’s horizontal infrastructure – the roads, footpaths, bridges and underground pipes – has concluded the $1.8 billion committed by the Government and the $1.14b from the Christchurch City Council should be enough to do the work required to restore functionality.

The cash-strapped council hoped the review by experienced Auckland civil engineer Elena Trout would support its view that more funding was needed.

The council estimated it would cost $3.2b to restore all the infrastructure, but Trout’s report has concluded it would cost $2.9b, $348m less.

Trout said the lower cost was a result of several factors including efficiencies gained from ‘‘changed and evolved’’ design standards for wastewater, water and storm water networks, better assessment of asset damage information, rebuild efficiencies obtained by Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team (Scirt) and lower than forecast inflation of construction costs.

Trout said at the time the Cost Sharing Agreement was signed only 40 per cent of the assets had been assessed.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel would not comment on the report until she had a chance to discuss it with Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee. No date had been confirmed for that meeting, a council spokeswoman said.

Brownlee would also not comment until he had met with Dalziel. The pair have had the report for several weeks, but have been unable to meet because Brownlee had been in Singapore, then Iraq. He then became ill.

He was hoping to meet with Dalziel in ‘‘the next week or so’’.

The council has previously said if it was not able to find more money, streets in west Christchurch could go without repairs for decades because money to fix the roads and pipes was running out. Scirt has been working from east to west, so it was likely the bulk of the unrepaired infrastructure would be in the west of the city.

Councillor Yani Johanson said the report meant the city’s infrastructure was not going to be fixed in a timeframe or to a standard acceptable to many people.

‘‘The message from this is – the expectation that things will be put back as they were is wrong. What it shows, because of the agreements signed, people have to put up with getting less back than what they had before the earthquakes.’’

Johanson said the council must have a good look at its infrastructure strategy in the next few months to see what it could afford to do. ‘‘What it means for people is their roads are not going to be fixed as they were.’’

One of the report’s conclusions included that applying a second coat of seal, which provided a thick durable layer over the road, was not eligible for funding against the Cost Sharing Agreement.

Brownlee has previously said the horizontal infrastructure network would be at least equal to what it was before the quakes, and rejected the claim the council would to be burdened with extra costs.

‘‘It will be a long, long time before they [the council] have to start providing for maintenance on any of the work that has been done as part of the Scirt programme,’’ he said in December.

Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce chief executive Peter Townsend said the council and the Government needed to come up with an option that would serve the best interests of the city. ‘‘We don’t want to be driving around on bumpy roads for the next 20 years.’’

Source:

  • The Press
  • Tina Law & Louis Cairns
  • Photo: Iain McGregor

Karapiro Viaduct time-lapse video

Karapiro Viaduct time-lapse video – part of the NZTA Cambridge Bypass Project currently underway in the North Island.

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