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Breaking Ground On A Ground-breaking Venture

It wasn’t just spades that were out today as Minister Michael Wood, MP Marja Lubeck, Albany Ward Councillors, Waka Kotahi officials and iwi partners Ngāti Manuhiri, Ngaati Whanaunga and Te Kawerau a Maki turned the first sod (hurihia te whenua) for O Mahurangi – Penlink.

A hybrid digger was also on show as a taster of what’s to come for how construction on the eagerly anticipated project will be carried out.

The new 7km proposed toll road and shared walking and cycling path from Whangaparaoa to State Highway 1 will not only provide increased travel choices and reduce vehicle emissions through providing a walking and cycling option, it will also set a new standard for the way Waka Kotahi projects are designed and built, with reducing environmental impacts at the heart of decision making.

As part of the New Zealand Upgrade Programme (NZUP), O Mahurangi has targets to reduce construction emissions, a step towards meeting Waka Kotahi’s vision of a low carbon, safe and healthy transport system.

Mark Kinvig, National Manager Infrastructure Delivery at Waka Kotahi says all major NZUP projects are targeting a minimum 10 percent reduction in construction emissions. This is already being seen in action on O Mahurangi Penlink.

“The construction alliance we have created has carbon reduction through design and construction at the heart of their thinking. This led to them changing the original bridge design to a new extradosed bridge design, a New Zealand first with 38% less embodied carbon due to less concrete required.

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“The construction team are also looking at ways to reduce on-site diesel use and will have a zero emissions fleet for excavating works.

“From the large machinery, like the hybrid diggers and hydrogen trucks arriving next year, to the careful recycling in the project office, the project’s carbon footprint is carefully considered in everything the team does,” says Mark Kinvig.

It is anticipated that these innovations as well as the partnership with Mana Whenua will be used as blueprint for future Waka Kotahi projects.

“O Mahurangi is the first NZUP project to have iwi partners on the Project Alliance Board. This is a huge step forward in the way that we work with Mana Whenua, with Te Ao Māori embedded at all levels of the project,” says Mark Kinvig.

The new corridor will give people on the Whangaparāoa Peninsula better and faster access to the Northern Busway, further contributing to a sustainable, multi-modal land transport system where public transport, active or shared modes are the first choice for most daily transport needs.

Enabling works are set to commence from early January. This will include clearing ground, establishing access tracks and temporary erosion and sediment controls, early earthworks, office set up and starting construction of a temporary access platform within the Wēiti River to enable the bridge construction.

Bulk earthworks are set to commence from October 2023.

Projects worth $3 billion are now underway on the New Zealand Upgrade Programme, being delivered by Waka Kotahi and KiwiRail in growing communities across the country. A further 10 projects are in the pre-implementation phase, finalising the work needed for construction to start.

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