A crowd of around 150 attended an NZTA meeting on the Southern Corridor Improvements project in Pukekohe on Tuesday 21 August 2018.
The meeting was in response to the public’s want for a local meeting following a similar event in Takanini last month.
Project managers from NZTA and CPB contractors presented on the current status of the Southern Corridor Improvements project. There was also a chance for a Q and A session from commuters.
The project has been injected with $375 million and will bring benefits to public transport, freight and commuters, said NZTA’s project manager Andy Spittal.
Throughout the presentation, the numerous complexities of the project were listed, which included improvements and additions, movement of services like gas, power and internet and the reconstruction of plans for the Takanini on ramp. One significant delay was the rebuilding of the Pahurehure Inlet bridge, which was found to have issue with the supporting piers, which will be replaced to ensure “future proofing”. However some called the future proofing 40 years too late.
Glenn Houpapa, project manager for CPB Contractors, said there are around 100,000 vehicles per day on State Highway 1 and 48,000 vehicles per day on the Great South Road.
“We have 26 bridges to build and widen,” Glenn said. These include 17 on the motorway, which will be widened, four over the main trunk of the rail line, three shared user pass bridges and two over local roads. “We’re also relocating service lines. There can be 110,000 volts of power above the site. Engineering controls have to be put in place. Safety is absolutely paramount. We’re not prepared to compromise,” Glenn said.
Andy Spittal said he was proud to be associated with this project. “There is a highly talented range of individual skills on the team. It’s one of the best construction teams in New Zealand,” he said.
MP for Hunua, Andrew Bayly also attended the meeting and has recently put questions forward to the regional director of NZTA.
During the question and answer time, issues were raised around the poor communication of the fact that the project would now be taking another year to complete. One man even offered to build a lane himself, which was met with applause from the audience.
The completion of the Takanini northbound on ramp is due to be finished by Christmas NZTA said, with the full-time completion of the improvements expected in December 2019, one year after the formerly announced due date.