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RiverLink gets green light for RFP release to market

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RiverLink, a transformational set of projects for Te Awa Kairangi ki Tai (Lower Hutt), is one step closer to reality with the green light given to release a Request for Proposal (RFP) to establish an Alliance of design and construction firms to deliver the programme.

RiverLink is jointly funded by the Government through the NZ Upgrade Programme, Greater Wellington and Hutt City Council.

Emma Speight, Waka Kotahi Director of Regional Relationships for Wellington/Top of South, says RiverLink is a critical set of projects for Te Awa Kairangi ki Tai and represents more than five years’ worth of extensive consultation, engagement and consenting work by project partners on behalf of their local communities.

“RiverLink will bring real benefits to the tens of thousands of Kiwis who live, work, and travel through Te Awa Kairangi ki Tai every day, with safer and more connected transport options, a stronger and more resilient river corridor, and greater business, housing, and investment opportunities through revitalisation of the Lower Hutt central city.

“It’s great to take the next step in delivering this important regional project and go to market for proposals to establish a delivery Alliance for RiverLink.

Daran Ponter, Chair of Greater Wellington, says RiverLink is a hugely significant project that will bring much needed resilience to the Hutt Valley.

"The RFP is timely. RiverLink’s flood protection work is expected to safeguard residents from large flood events that could cause an estimated $1.1 billion worth of damage across the community, to thousands of homes, a hospital precinct, five schools, 600 businesses and significant other infrastructure.

RiverLink will also protect other significant Crown assets including the state highway, railway line, health facilities, schools, and other assets.  It’s a very narrow stretch of the river and unless we can widen and improve the stopbanks, there is a real possibility of those stopbanks failing, so it's great to see this hugely significant project progressing at pace now, and we look forward to further investment from the Crown to protect their assets and vulnerable communities," says Daran Ponter.

“RiverLink is a once in a lifetime opportunity to transform our city,” says Lower Hutt Mayor Campbell Barry.

“The project will deliver a more resilient, connected, and vibrant city centre with Te Awa Kairangi (Hutt River) at the heart.  It will stimulate greater economic growth and development, allow more housing, and revitalise our central business district.”

“I’m incredibly proud of the collective efforts, and hard work that’s gone in to reaching this stage, and I’m looking forward to the exciting work ahead,” says Mayor Barry.

RiverLink Mana Whenua Steering Group Chair, and Taranaki Whānui representative, Kim Skelton says this milestone is a positive step towards a more prosperous future for iwi and Māori economic development.

“Through our partnership with Hutt City Council, Waka Kotahi, and Greater Wellington, we have been closely involved with programme design and advocating for consent conditions that will improve the water quality and restore te mouri o Te Awa Kairangi and protect the wider natural environment.

“We are proud of the collaborative approach taken to uplift and share our cultural and historic narratives of Te Awa Kairangi and embedding mana whenua values throughout the RiverLink programme. We’re excited to move to the procurement phase to select an Alliance partner who will work with us to realise our iwi aspirations and collective vision “our river, city and community thriving together”.

The RiverLink team is preparing to release the RFP to market this week, with a preferred proponent to be announced in March 2023. Construction is likely to begin in late 2023 and be completed in 2027.

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