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Council okays Britomart rail station contract


MEDIA RELEASE

8 October 2001


Council okays Britomart rail station contract

Auckland City Council has today given the go-ahead to the Britomart project.

At a special meeting of the council this afternoon 18 of the 20 councillors approved the recommendation to let Stage One of the Britomart development contracts for the underground railway station beside the Old Chief Post Office to Downer Construction New Zealand Limited.

This means construction work will be underway this year and there will be trains back in downtown Queen Street in 2003 says Mayor, Chris Fletcher.

“This represents the beginning of the regional network to combat congestion and improve the quality of life for Aucklanders. It also represents the securing of the future of the magnificent old lady of Auckland – the Old CPO building.

With this sign-off by councillors today we’ve reached a milestone of regional significance. There’s a welcome sense of achievement for all of us who’ve worked hard over the last two years to bring the project to this point where we can ‘push the start button’.

This is an inspirational moment for all involved. Britomart has been acknowledged as an essential part of the regional passenger transport network and work starting will be tangible proof that the region is getting on with developing its vital infrastructure.”

Cost-benefit analysis has shown the project stacks up well, she said. Audit New Zealand has commended the council for the quality of its work on Britomart.
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Reporting on the tender process to today’s meeting, Audit New Zealand Director Brian Smith gave an assurance that “key stages conformed to good practice and the process was carried out in such a way as to minimise the risk of failure due to poor project management.” Mr Smith said the issue of probity was addressed “to achieve integrity and consistency of process so no parties were unfairly treated”.

An independent peer review by Mr Peter Menzies full endorsed the project.

The council had budgeted $98 million for this stage of the work, and the Downer Construction tender plus provisional sums for some additional works brings the total estimated cost to council to $96.6 million.

Mrs Fletcher says she was “well satisfied” at the quality of the tendering process and pleased that all of the pieces had fallen into place so the project can proceed.

“Britomart will be the driver of a viable and user-friendly public transport network for Auckland, to relieve congestion on the streets and give people a real choice in how they travel to and from work, for business and entertainment.”

The Britomart Station contract will be followed by contracts to renovate the former Chief Post Office and upgrade Queen Elizabeth Square, to create a safe and lively area for an integrated passenger transport interchange linking trains, buses and ferries.

The rapid transit passenger scheme will eventually involve new trains, new timetables and upgrading of stations throughout the network.


The council has also called for expressions of interest from companies who might be prepared to finance and build the full underground concourse beneath Queen Elizabeth Square in return for commercial benefits.

The full concourse - an addition to the initial design brief - was removed from the Britomart project to fit within the budget and replaced with a modified underground access to Britomart station.

ENDS

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