The NZ Transport Agency today announced that it is to call tenders to build the Waterview Connection, the biggest and most complex roading project ever in New Zealand.
The 4.5km long Waterview Connection, linking the Southwestern motorway (SH20) with the Northwestern motorway (SH16), includes two 3-lane tunnels for 2.5kms of the route.
NZTA chief executive Geoff Dangerfield says the Transport Agency is up to the challenge of delivering a project of this size.
"This is hugely exciting news for Auckland and for New Zealand," he says. "A project of this scale is a first for New Zealand, and it will deliver many, many benefits for the country and the region."
"This is an ideal time to tender as the current economic conditions enable us to get the best market prices. It confirms our commitment to deliver the project as quickly as possible and with the best value for money," Mr Dangerfield adds.
Calling tenders for Waterview Connection works follows a decision by the NZTA’s Board to approve funding of up to $2bn to complete Auckland’s Western Ring Route road of national significance.
Mr Dangerfield says a project of this scale will attract international interest and could create over 1,000 jobs in construction-related activities at the peak of activity.
The NZTA will run the tender process in parallel with its application for statutory approvals, through the new national consenting process.
"Running the two in parallel will save us up to a year in the construction timetable as well as offer significant savings on the overall cost of the project," says Mr Dangerfield.
Mr Dangerfield adds that no construction on the Waterview Connection will start until all the necessary consents and approvals are in place.
The NZTA will lodge its route designation and resource consent applications with the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) in mid-August.
"We are continuing to give the community certainty as this project develops," says Mr Dangerfield. "We are determined to work closely with them, and with local authorities and other stakeholders through the EPA process to address issues and concerns related to open space replacement, air quality, and construction impacts such as noise, traffic and dust.
Completing the Western Ring Route is one of the Government's seven Roads of National Significance Projects to support and enable economic growth for the country. It involves extending State Highway 20 to link with the Northwestern motorway (SH16) at the Great North Road interchange, together with capacity improvements along the Northwestern motorway from St Lukes interchange to Westgate.
Once completed, the Western Ring Route will provide a 48km alternative to SH1 and the Auckland Harbour Bridge. It will reduce congestion and provide more reliable travel times for both freight and people.
For more information on the tender process, or other aspects of the project visit: www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/waterviewconnection(external link)
1. What does completing the Western Ring Route project include?
Completing the Western Ring Route includes a 4.5km extension of SH20 from Mt Roskill to link with SH16 at the Great North Road interchange – the Waterview Connection. . 2.5km of this extension is made up of 2 x three-lane tunnels. Other works in the project include capacity improvements to SH16 from St Lukes to Westgate.
2. Why tender now before consents are given?
This is an ideal time to call tenders. Running the procurement process in parallel with the EPA statutory approval process saves the NZTA up to a year in its construction programme, makes the most of current economic conditions to get the best market prices. No construction work will start until all necessary consents are obtained.
3. How much funding has been approved to complete the Western Ring Route?
The NZTA Board has approved up to $2bn in funding to complete the Western Ring Route over the next decade.
4. How much will it cost to complete the Western Ring Route?
The NZTA anticipates that the mid-point cost estimate to complete the Western Ring Route is $2bn.
5. When will the procurement for the construction of the Western Ring Route project start?
Procurement for Maioro St and Lincoln Road interchanges has started. The NZTA will now begin the procurement for the construction of the SH20 extension work, including the tunnels. Once the SH20 contract is awarded procurement for the SH16 construction packages will follow.
6. When is the contract for the construction of this component likely to be awarded?
The NZTA anticipates awarding the contract in August 2011, dependent on the outcome of the Statutory Approval process.
7. When will the Western Ring Route project be completed?
We expect the SH20/SH16 connection to be operational from 2016. The section from Lincoln Road to Westgate will be completed once the SH20/SH16 link is completed.
8. What is a 'road of national significance'?
In March 2009 the Government announced seven 'roads of national significance' (RoNS) that are seen as lead infrastructure projects requiring high priority to enable regional and economic growth and development. The focus of the RoNS is on moving people and freight reliably, safely and efficiently. There is a target to have all seven RoNS completed by 2020.