Yesterday NZTA announced that Fletcher Construction, along with a bunch of other companies, forming what’s called the “Well-Connected” consortium, have won the contract for the Waterview Connection project:
NZTA awards contract for New Zealand’s biggest-ever roading project
New Zealand’s biggest and most complex roading project – Auckland’s Waterview Connection – is a step closer to completion with the NZ Transport Agency’s announcement today that it has chosen the preferred tenderer for the project’s construction.
The successful tenderer is the Well-Connected consortium. Well-Connected includes New Zealand and international companies: Fletcher Construction, McConnell Dowell Constructors, Obayashi Corporation, PB New Zealand, Beca Infrastructure and Tonkin & Taylor. The consortium includes five sub-alliance partners and contractors: SICE, Wilson Tunnelling, Downer EDI Works, Boffa Miskell and Warren and Mahoney. Well-Connected will now enter into an alliance with the NZTA to deliver the project.
The project, to be finished by 2016, will complete one of the key links in the Western Ring Route around Auckland by connecting the Southwestern Motorway (SH20) at Mt Roskill to the Northwestern Motorway (SH16), providing a 48 kilometre motorway alternative to ease pressure on SH1 and the Auckland Harbour Bridge.
“Today’s announcement marks a significant milestone towards a transport solution that will deliver many benefits for Aucklanders and for all of New Zealand,” says the NZTA’s Chief Executive, Geoff Dangerfield.
“The Waterview Connection is the key transport link needed to complete the Western Ring Route. This will have a major change on the way traffic moves around Auckland, keeping the city moving and the economy growing. Business, commuters and tourists will all be able to travel more reliably, more safely and with much greater convenience. This important travel solution will reduce congestion and provide a strategic alternative to SH1 – the country’s busiest motorway.”
The Western Ring Route is one of seven Roads of National Significance (RoNS), identified by the Government as vital to enabling economic growth in New Zealand by moving people and freight between and within major population centres more safely and efficiently.
Together with the NZTA, Well-Connected will be responsible for constructing nearly 5kms of new motorway that includes tunnels and interchanges that will connect the Southwestern and Northwestern Motorways.
More than half of the new motorway will be underground – traffic will drive through two three-lane tunnels – which will be a first for New Zealand.
“This project will require underground work at an unprecedented scale, in a country where road tunnels are relatively rare. It will need to be constructed through difficult terrain that consists of soft sedimentary rock and basalt lava flows,” says Mr Dangerfield.
“It won’t be easy, but by constructing the project in an alliance between the NZTA and the private sector, we’re ensuring that this project will be delivered as quickly as possible and with the very best value for money.”
Mr Dangerfield says today’s announcement marks a significant milestone in a rigorous procurement process that started last year.
Last November, the NZTA shortlisted three registered consortia down to two. The other shortlisted consortium which was unsuccessful today was Tuhono. The Tuhono consortium included Leighton Contractors, Fulton Hogan, John Holland, Aecom and Sinclair Knight Merz. Tuhono also included United Group and Keller New Zealand as proposed sub alliance partners.
Mr Dangerfield thanked Tuhono for its hard work and involvement in the process and says that both of the final tender submissions received by the NZTA were innovative, demonstrated good value for money and proved that either of these competitors were up to the challenge of delivering a complex and important project of this size.
“These parties have been engaged in a competitive and rigorous tender process that has attracted a high level of interest both nationally and internationally. We have been incredibly impressed with what they have delivered, and we are pleased with the outcome of this competitive process. We are on track to deliver this very large project on time and on budget at $1.4 billion. That’s great news for Auckland and great news for New Zealand.”
Mr Dangerfield says the NZTA has run the competitive alliance tender process in parallel with its pursuit of statutory approvals for the Waterview Connection Project from the Board of Inquiry. The Agency received the final nod to go ahead in July.
“Running the two processes in parallel has helped us save up to a year in construction time and ensure we get the best market prices.
“Now, we gear up towards the start of construction. We’re nailing down the final design scheme that will incorporate all of the Board’s additions and take into account the community’s views and concerns and excitingly, we’re looking forward to getting that first spade in the ground before the end of the year.” Mr Dangerfield adds.
“And it doesn’t stop here for the community. They will continue to have a very active role as the project develops. We’ll be establishing community liaison groups that will ensure the community will have a voice throughout the project’s lifecycle and we’ll make sure they’ll be in place well before construction commences.”
While I can’t help but wonder what spending $1.4 billion on further improving Auckland’s public transport system might help achieve, I have generally come around to accepting the Waterview Connection project as a necessary last piece of Auckland’s motorway system. In particular, it was heartening to follow the Board of Inquiry consenting process quite closely, read through the 300-odd page decision and see that it really had taken into account many of the community’s concerns about the impact of the project – and required some really substantial mitigation.
With the Hobsonville Motorway now open, the Waterview Connection project will complete the Western Ring Route and (hopefully) complete the Auckland motorway network for good.