Projects supports ‘golden triangle'
Projects support communities and businesses in ‘golden triangle’
Today’s major announcement of infrastructure projects is good news for members in the EMA’s upper North Island region.
EMA Head of Advocacy and Strategy, Alan McDonald, says members will welcome the estimated $5 billion in transport projects in the EMA region out of a total $6.8 billion in key road and rail projects that support growth, connectivity and ease of movement throughout the ‘golden triangle’.
"We’ve long advocated for many of these shovel-ready projects, and we’re pleased there’s funding and timing commitments to them. Some are literally green-lit from today and others staggered to allow a pipeline of projects for the construction industry. These projects will help get Auckland and the rest of our EMA region moving," he says.
"Several important projects for our members are going ahead, including four laning of SH1 from Whangarei to Port Marsden, the Mill Rd connection from Manukau to Drury in South Auckland and improvements north from Tauranga towards Omokoroa."
"The go-ahead for the third main rail line south from Auckland enables maximum capacity on the new Central Rail Loop (CRL) and the shifting of more freight by rail from Ports of Auckland. Electrification of the line from Papakura to Pukekohe will add a reliable, fast public transport train system to service rapid residential growth in the Clevedon, Drury and Pukekohe areas and complement the three-laning project for the motorway to Drury South. In the north the long-planned Penlink two like highway will link the Whangaparaoa Peninsula to the Northern Busway and ease congestion on the existing two-lane peninsula access road. "
The commitment to upgrade the Piarere intersection linking State Highways 29 and 1 in the South Waikato is also a significant safety upgrade and improve a critical freight corridor to the South of Hamilton.
"The EMA is pleased to see priority given to a region-wide approach to ease certain critical freight corridors and enhance safety. Those safety and other social wellbeing benefits, such as greater mobility and connections between communities and greatly improved public transport, which come from major infrastructure development will be welcome across the region.
"Also announced was further investment in all three major Auckland hospitals, Whangarei and Tauranga with about $25 million in new mental health facilities in Tauranga and Whakatane. Given the pressures on some of our members in the Eastern Bay of Plenty that will also be a welcome spend."
Mr McDonald said the only quibble around today’s announcement was the fact many of these projects were ready to go nearly three years ago and in effect have been delayed three years while congestion has gotten worse.
"Unsurprisingly there was no mention of the East/West corridor, an urgent project that seems to have disappeared completely off the radar and an injection of funding into the North Western Busway would also have been welcomed.
The question now will be how quickly the construction sector can gear up across the country, with significant new spend also announced in the Wellington and Christchurch regions, although with some major projects near winding up it may be a case of reallocating current resources to these new projects.