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Delivery Of Highway Projects Requires Co-Operation

30 June 2005

Transit’s Promise Of “Faster Delivery” Of Auckland Highway Projects Requires 100% Co-Operation Of Region’s Local Authorities – Especially Auckland City!

The faster delivery of Auckland’s major roading projects highlighted in the Transit New Zealand 10-year plan “hangs-or-falls” on the level of co-operation the region’s seven territorial authorities give to speed up approvals.

With Transit acknowledging that it now has the money and borrowing approval to bring forward timelines on all Auckland’s major state highway projects, “smart partnerships with local authorities will be needed to ensure that the opportunity of faster progress is converted into action,” said Michael Barnett, Auckland Chamber of Commerce CEO.

Auckland will only have itself to blame if it doesn’t get the core network well on the road to completion in the next five years, some 10 years ahead of the original timeline, he suggested.

“Clearly, Transit is showing it has been given the political sign off to make greater use of borrowing and to speed up delivery of the Auckland network

“That it intends to undertake borrowing immediately to get faster construction of the Upper Harbour Corridor’s Greenhithe project and accelerate planning of the major Avondale and Manukau Crossing projects is hugely welcome,” said Mr Barnett.

He noted that four of the major projects that Transit is proposing to speed up are in Auckland City – the Harbour Bridge to City tunnel under Victoria Park, Newmarket Viaduct upgrade, Avondale and, with Manukau City, the Manukau Harbour Crossing (Mangere Bridge).

“To get the planning, design work, consent and property purchase completed as rapidly as possible, each of the four projects will require a dedicated team working full time,” said Mr Barnett. “Auckland City Mayor’s commitment to action-based leadership will be required on all fronts – the region has run out of excuses for hold-ups on these key projects.”

He said it was especially significant that today’s announcement acknowledged that Transit now had the capacity to advance the major projects in parallel.

“However, the test will be in what happens. In the past, Transit had announced timelines which had slipped and failed to be converted into action.

“We need to ensure that Transit and the local authorities ‘walk the talk’ and put in place a transparent project management so that the public and other stakeholders can monitor progress month-by-month.”

Mr Barnett noted that the Plan detail still lacked user-friendly clarity in respect of start and completion dates so that the public could easily follow progress.

We will be continuing to press Transit to provide a clearer target date and work programme for completing the core network “so that any unnecessary delays that emerge are obvious and the reasons for them can be put under scrutiny and solved immediately.”

He believed the recent work by the Auckland Business Forum and Chamber had achieved progress to encourage Transit to take up the borrowing option to start some projects earlier than was originally intended. “The test now is to convert this opportunity into action.”


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