Development of the Puhoi-to-Wellsford Road of National Significance has taken an important step forward with the NZ Transport Agency awarding a contract for investigation work to decide what alignment the road will follow.
The investigation will take 15 months, and will be undertaken by Sinclair Knight Mertz (SKM), a specialists in engineering and environmental issues.
The NZTA’s acting Regional Director for Auckland and Northland, Tommy Parker, said the investigation was the first step in a process to obtain and protect land for the planned highway, and to apply for the necessary resource consents to construct it.
“A key part of the investigation work will be looking for opportunities that enable the NZTA to deliver this important piece of infrastructure as quickly as possible,” Mr Parker said. “The new highway is going to be built through some difficult and challenging country, and a lot of information and data is needed before we can decide on the best options for constructing it.”
The investigation work will look at a wide range of aspects to the project. These include:
• location and form of road
• social impacts such as noise, air quality and the effect on the local community
• tangata whenua and the cultural impacts of potential routes
• property impacts
• geotechnical and topography considerations
• ecological impacts
• affect on historic areas
• connections to the local roading network
• walking and cycling access
• potential construction staging of the work
• cost of the route
• constructability of the road
• opportunities for acceleration of the project.
“The NZTA is working as quickly as possible to ensure this road is completed on time and within budget, and this investigation work is the important first step,” Mr Parker said. “SKM consultants will help us deliver a high quality solution that will help reduce congestion, improve safety and encourage economic growth.”
In addition to the investigation works, the NZTA will begin consulting with communities between Puhoi and communities in mid-2010 for their views about the proposed highway.
“This road is important to people in the community, and their feedback will be important for us as we decide on the final alignment and form of the road we are going to construct,” said Mr Parker.
The planned corridor is approximately 38km long. It will include a bypass of both Warkworth and Wellsford. The Puhoi-to-Wellsford section is expected to be substantially completed within 10 years.
The project is one of seven Roads of National Significance which have been identified by the Government as the most urgent roading projects in or near our largest population centres.
For detailed project information go to: http://www.nzta.govt.nz/network/rons/docs/puhoi-wellsford-project-summary-statement.pdf