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First Stage Of Upper Harbour Corridor Construction

First Stage Of Upper Harbour Corridor Construction Begins

Early works on the first stage of Transit New Zealand’s Upper Harbour Corridor was celebrated today as Minister of Transport, Hon Paul Swain, and Mayor of North Shore City, George Wood placed the first survey pegs for the second Upper Harbour Bridge section of the Upper Harbour Corridor Project.

The Minister and Mayor were joined by Transit New Zealand Authority chairperson Alan Bickers, Waitakere City Mayor Bob Harvey, mana whenua, community board members and other local officials to celebrate the Upper Harbour Bridge Duplication and Causeway Widening project which is one of three sections that make up the $250M project.

The ceremony follows the letting of a $29.6M contract to Fletcher Construction Ltd for the construction of a duplicate Upper Harbour Bridge and widening of the existing causeway on the Hobsonville side of the bridge in late January.

Mr Swain said that the letting of the contract was a significant step as the project, when completed, would help in reducing congestion and improving safety in the area, where traffic volumes are growing at twice the rate of the Auckland average.

Work on the 460m-long balanced cantilever bridge (3 lanes plus a pedestrian/cycleway) on the northern side adjacent to the existing bridge, and an 860m causeway, will begin in mid February, and is scheduled for completion by mid 2006.

The bridge duplication and causeway will form an integral part of the State Highway 18 Upper Harbour Corridor, which will see the construction of a 12km, 4-lane motorway from the Northwestern Motorway to the Albany Highway.

The new motorway, which also includes extending the Northwestern Motorway (SH16) a further 3km to Brigham Creek Road near Kumeu, will form an important link in the strategic Western Ring Route creating an alternate route around Auckland city from Manukau to the Northern Motorway.

Mr Swain said that the new motorway would cater for the growth in the area which was ‘the highest in a region that is already booming’. The impact of this growth was evidenced by traffic volumes over the Upper Harbour Bridge which averaged just 550 vehicles an hour 20 years ago.

“Now there are 2460 vehicles crossing the bridge in peak hour and 27,400 a day. With the ongoing growth of North Shore and Waitakere cities, already two of the largest cities in New Zealand, the Upper Harbour corridor is a vital economic and transportation route. We must therefore reduce congestion while improving safety and protecting the surrounding environment,” said Mr Swain.

Transit Chairman, Alan Bickers, said that the Upper Harbour Bridge project was part of the more than $400M already committed to construction of motorway and state highway projects in Auckland, in addition to the $1.2B allocated for new projects over the next 10 years.

“The benefits of the entire Upper Harbour Corridor project will impact on this area and, like everything that happens in the Auckland region, on the whole country,” he said.

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