Saturday, December 4

Porirua Mayor Questions Transmission Gully Delays


The mayor of Porirua says she is frustrated by Waka Kotahi’s lack of information on what Transmission Gully is delaying.

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The construction cost of Transmission Gully has gone from $ 850 to $ 1.25 billion and it is not yet clear when it will be completed.
Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas

The 27-kilometer highway was supposed to open today, but it is not due to delays caused by Covid-19.

It was not the first time that the promised due date had not been met.

Anita Baker said the delays had cost the city money and the lack of explanation was frustrating.

“I feel like they’re not telling us everything. I know it’s hard for [Transport Minister Michael Woods] and everyone wants the path to be open, but just come up with a realistic date … even if it gave us something that was longer than it was actually going to be.

“Because we need something to aim for, at the moment we have nothing.”

The delays had also caused headaches as the city tried to get its congested local roads in order.

“We cannot work until we have opened the interchange for six months … because we need to see how the traffic on that road will change.

“So just delay everything, just advance everything.”

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Anita Baker, Mayor of Porirua.
Photo: SUPPLIED

Locals were disappointed by the delay, and it would be easier to bear if people knew what’s behind it, he said.

“Covid was only here for three weeks, so I was expecting another delay of about three weeks.”

Transporting New Zealand CEO and former Porirua mayor Nick Leggett said the delays were unacceptable.

“We should demand the ability of our country to build large pieces of infrastructure. I don’t think we are there yet and I don’t think we will do it enough because this is one of the many large chunks of infrastructure that the country needs and it is not just by road. .

“So it looks like we have a problem.”

He agreed that communication had been poor.

“We drew attention, approximately in July of last year, to the delays that were occurring at Transmission Gully … nobody wanted to talk about it.

“Since then we have had a little more information and Waka Kotahi has made an effort, but overall I think the group should be more direct about where things are.”

The road will connect from the north of Paekākāriki to Linden, north of Tawa.

It was committed by the then national government in 2014 and would be built through a public-private partnership. Construction began the following year.

Since then, its $ 850 million budget has skyrocketed to $ 1.25 billion.

CPB HEB joint venture contractors have also been fined for non-consensual earthworks and sediment discharge.

Two big questions remain for the gigantic project: Will the private company face fines of up to $ 250,000 a day for these latest delays, and when will the road actually open?

Both Waka Kotahi and Wood declined to be interviewed, but the government promised a report on the project once the road is completed.

A Waka Kotahi spokesperson said the latest delay was due to Covid-19 and that there was still work to be completed, as well as work on safety and asset quality assurance, and compliance checks before the road could be opened.

Regarding the fines, the spokesperson said he could not comment until after trade negotiations had been finalized.

“We can confirm that work has resumed on the site and the builder is working hard to complete the project as quickly as possible.”


www.rnz.co.nz

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