Expressway begins as Transmission Gully builders named
Dec 02, 2013 (M2 PRESSWIRE via COMTEX) --
Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee has turned the first digger-bucket of soil to mark the start of construction on the MacKays to Peka Peka Expressway, an important milestone in the Government's work to deliver better infrastructure for a more prosperous New Zealand.
Mr Brownlee also welcomed the NZ Transport Agency's announcement it has chosen a consortium to enter into preferred bidder negotiations with for the Transmission Gully Public Private Partnership (PPP) highway project.
The 16km MacKays to Peka Peka Expressway and the 27km Transmission Gully highway are two key components of the 110km Wellington Northern Corridor Road of National Significance, which will run from Levin to Wellington Airport.
"Beginning construction on the MacKays to Peka Peka Expressway and further progress on the Transmission Gully project are significant steps forward in the Government's long-term strategy to improve transport infrastructure nationally and locally," Mr Brownlee says.
"Journeys on this road will be quicker and safer, with the travel time between Levin and Wellington Airport forecast to be a massive 40 minutes shorter.
"This much needed transport investment will help grow our economy by allowing freight and people to travel with more reliability and greater safety, around and between our main population centres."
Mr Brownlee says the 'availability' PPP model being adopted for the Transmission Gully project means the PPP consortium will be paid for making a safe road open and available to traffic, and after achieving specified performance levels.
"Importantly, PPPs allow large and complex projects to benefit from private sector innovation and funding sources which can increase certainty of delivery and drive better value for money, as well as effectively identifying risks and transferring these to the private sector.
"Using a PPP model for some transport projects will also offer opportunities for private sector innovations in design, construction, maintenance and operation that can then be applied across the wider transport network.
"It will also free up funding that can be used to bring forward other transport projects."
Mr Brownlee says the Wellington Northern Corridor is one of seven Roads of National Significance the Government has identified as essential state highways which require upgrading to reduce congestion, improve safety and support economic growth in New Zealand.
The Wellington Northern Corridor will provide an efficient, resilient and much safer connection between the airport, port and other key economic centres in the North Island, while also improving the transport gateway to the South Island.
Mr Brownlee says the Roads of National Significance programme represents one of New Zealand's biggest ever infrastructure investments.
"Over the next 10 years some $12 billion will be invested in New Zealand's roading network.
"Our transport investment will help meet some key economic objectives and will make it easier for freight and people to travel with more reliability and with greater safety.
"Easing the most significant pressure points in the network will also have flow-on effects for all regions, encouraging business growth, tourism and jobs."
The MacKays to Peka Peka Expressway is expected to be open for traffic in 2017, and Transmission Gully is aimed for completion by 2020. The full 110km Wellington Northern Corridor is expected to be completed by 2024. During this work it's expected up to 8000 new constructions jobs will be created, and work on the wider economic benefits of the road suggests it will deliver 865 additional permanent jobs to the region once the route is complete.
For more information about the Roads of National Significance visit www.nzta.govt.nz/network/rons
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