INDEPENDENT NEWS

Key Central Motorway Junction Project Begins

Published: Wed 25 Sep 2002 04:17 PM
Key Central Motorway Junction Project Begins
Work on the first stage of Transit New Zealand’s Central Motorway (Spaghetti) Junction improvement project began today as Hon Paul Swain, Minister of Transport ‘turned the first sod’ to signal the start of construction.
The Minister was joined by Auckland Mayor John Banks, and Transit New Zealand Authority Chairperson Alan Bickers to signal the start of construction on the Khyber Pass to Gillies Avenue section of the project.
Mr Swain said that the work on the Central Motorway Junction project is another significant step towards reducing congestion in Auckland and addressing congestion throughout the region.
“The drive to completion has been accelerated by this Government’s commitment to the local transportation network. Completing the motorways is not just about driving faster - completing the motorway links is about reliability and the cost of doing business. You can’t afford to be stuck in traffic – time is money,” he said.
“The motorway network connects communities, provides access to goods and services, and allows you the freedom to travel where you want - all at a reasonable speed and with certainty.”
Mr Swain also commented on how the answer to congestion doesn’t lie in motorways alone. “Just building the motorway links will not solve Auckland traffic congestion. A continuing effort needs to be made to increase the use of public transport,” he said.
Transit New Zealand Authority chairperson, Alan Bickers said that the start of work on the CMJ project signals Transit’s ongoing commitment and attention to the transport needs of Auckland.
“Today we take another step towards completing the motorway links that have been incomplete for decades. We know the benefits of this project. To get it finished more quickly Transit has used an innovative solution of procuring contracts. This is the first use of an Alliance in New Zealand on a large scale roading project. Alliancing is well suited to high risk, complex projects like CMJ. Design and construction teams work together, decisions are focussed, there is genuine fast-tracking, and because the risks and rewards are shared there is no energy wasted on hidden agendas,” he said.
Mr Bickers said that it is important that “all concerned parties”, including Transit, are committed to finding a solution to Auckland’s traffic congestion problems.
“The solution to Auckland’s traffic congestion problems will only be found with the full commitment of all “concerned parties” of which Transit is a key player. We cannot achieve a solution to Auckland traffic congestion without local authorities fixing their major arterial roads, which also show considerable congestion. Passenger transport improvements are also part of the overall solution,” he said.
The Central Motorway Junction project aims to improve the overall efficiency and safety of the junction, which with some 200,000 vehicles passing through each day, is the busiest highway in New Zealand.
Transfund has recently approved $56.75 million for work from Symonds Street to Gillies Avenue. $32million of that is for this work between Khyber Pass and Gillies Avenue.
The first stage largely involves establishing road width and other features that will allow the next stages of the project to continue, and is scheduled for completion by mid 2004.
Initial works along this section will centre around the southbound shoulder between the Khyber Pass on-ramp and Gillies Ave off-ramp. The shoulder will be closed from early October 2002 until June 2003 to allow for this work to take place.
Stage 1 works will be undertaken by Freeflow – the alliance formed between Transit New Zealand, Fletcher Construction Ltd, Beca Carter Hollings and Ferner Ltd and Higgins Contractors Ltd. Freeflow was formed to deliver Transit New Zealand’s Grafton Gully project and the contract has been extended to include the first stage of CMJ.
Freeflow runs a public information centre at the corner of Alten Road and Stanley Street in Grafton. The information centre has been expanded to include details of the Khyber Pass to Gillies Avenue section of the Central Motorway Junction project.

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