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August Start Confirmed for Vital SH20 Link

9 May 2005

Media Release

August Construction Start Confirmed for Vital SH20 Western Corridor Link

Construction on the long-delayed SH20 Mt Roskill section of Western Corridor Ring Route will start in August.

A confirmed August start date on the $170 million project follows a meeting by the Auckland Business Forum with the Deputy Prime Minister Michael Cullen and Transport Minister Pete Hodgson seeking an accelerated work programme for completing critical missing links in the region’s strategic motorway network.

Michael Barnett, Auckland Chamber of Commerce CEO said that as well as a firm start date for SH20 Mt Roskill, he had been assured that:

Transit’s 05/06 programme due for release shortly includes accelerated timelines on some key projects on those originally proposed; and,
Use of borrowing was being looked at as a serious option to speed up completion of agreed network projects.

“This urgency for completing the western ring route corridor is not just about building more roads for the sake of more roads, but includes the opportunity for a significant improvement to the region’s passenger transport and alternative transport options,” stressed Mr Barnett.

He pointed out that the 4 km SH20 Mount Roskill motorway extension between the current SH20 Queenstown Rd interchange and Richardson Rd includes provision for bus and cycle ways.

“The confirmed start for this vital western corridor project gives Auckland something real to celebrate,” said Mr Barnett.

A western corridor ring route linking the southern SH1 motorway at Manukau City with the northwestern SH16 motorway at Waitakere City has featured on the region’s transport plans for more than 30 years.

Other than the Puhinui Road interchange at the Manukau end, there has been no construction this century on the rest of the link, despite undisputed Australian-based research showing that the economic benefit from completing the western ring route by 2012 would generate an additional $850 million GDP growth a year from that date onward.

Other benefits include:

Cutting travel times between Manukau and Waitakere Cities by as much as 20-30 minutes through avoiding Spaghetti junction gridlock and rat runs and traffic lights on local roads;
Better bus and freight delivery options between the two Cities;
Less through traffic in Mt Albert, Avondale suburban streets and therefore safer for locals, pedestrians and cyclists.
Lots of jobs during construction.

“Getting the Roskill section underway and bringing forward the timeline for the other unfinished sections – Manukau extension from Puhinui Rd to Manukau City, the widening of Mangere Bridge and Avondale section from Richardson Rd to Waitakere City - is a no brainer,” said Mr Barnett.

“Business and other groups are justifiably angry at the years of slippage on published timetables. What we now are seeking is a work programme and time line that is credible and accelerates these projects.”

Mt Roskill’s confirmed start date is a stake in the ground, around which a programme can be built for the full corridor to be completed as a single rolling project.


ENDS

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