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Auckland Western Ring Route Accelerates

24 June 2004

Auckland Western Ring Route Accelerates

The approval of funding for the Mt Roskill and Manukau motorway extension projects in Auckland, marks a very significant milestone, David Stubbs, Chairperson of the Board of Transit New Zealand said today.

“These two projects are a substantial part of the Western Ring Route, with a combined value of more than $300M. This brings the total value of motorway work now underway in Auckland to more than $800M.

“This level of activity in the transport sector is able to be commissioned with confidence as a result of additional funding approved by the Government in December 2003.

“As soon as final land acquisition issues are resolved, Transit and Manukau City Council are also ready to apply for the funding to build the new Waiouru Interchange with the Highbrook access,” Mr Stubbs said.

“In early June Transit completed its re-evaluation of these projects under the new provisions of the Land Transport Management Act, and I am delighted that Transfund has been able to consider our conclusions and approve funding so promptly.

“Transit acknowledges the work of the Auckland and Manukau City Councils, and the Auckland Regional Council, all of whom have worked hard with us for the last six months to secure this funding approval. We have refined commitments to an integrated package of public passenger transport, walking, cycling and travel demand management initiatives which will ensure the benefits of our road project maintained into the future.

“It is no longer appropriate to build new road capacity without being confident that we can permanently reduce congestion.

“While it will take some time for Transit’s projects to fully reflect the principles of the New Zealand Transport Strategy and the Land Transport Management Act, I am pleased that these two projects represent a move in the right direction. The earthworks and interchanges for both projects include provision for rail tracks,” Mr Stubbs said.

Rick van Barneveld, Transit New Zealand chief executive, met this week with Presidents of the New Zealand Contractors Federation and Roading New Zealand.

“The contractors they represent are eagerly anticipating this new work. We have also met with contracting companies over recent months to confirm that the capability of the sector is equal to the task ahead,” Mr van Barneveld said.

“The momentum we have established during the last two years is significant but the challenge of further acceleration is not being taken lightly.

“Transit is committed to making sure that its contracts for these big jobs are robust. It is important for the contractors and Transit to work together and get a common understanding of all of the complexities before tenders close,” he said.

“Our recent major projects are going really well and they reflect the attention to establishing a secure contract. Tenders are being finalised for a number of major highway projects at the moment and we will work with the contracting companies to schedule the tendering of these new ones so that we get good bids.

“These new projects, when taken together with work already underway on the Central Motorway Junction and Greenhithe and the Upper Harbour Bridge, will inevitably have significant impact on local communities and Auckland road users in general.

“We are moving to provide better up-to-date information on where and when work is happening on the Transit website and on the roadside with our variable message signs. But we need people to have patience and look forward to the improvements we are delivering.

“Noise, dust and vibration are also significant issues for us to manage and we will work on that through establishing good community relationships during construction,” Mr van Barneveld said.

ENDS


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