The Lake Rd Improvements project (Hauraki to Belmont) has been resuscitated after a thunderous silence over the last six months. So let me outline.
Since Richard Hills and I secured budget of $47m last June we have kept regular contact with Auckland Transport (AT) officials to ensure momentum was maintained. In late 2018 we became concerned over the time it was taking NZTA to confirm their share of funding – about $1.2m all up – for the Developed Business Case (DBC). It’s a long and laborious process but as co-funders NZTA calls the shots. We were aware of staff departures at AT possibly putting the handbrake on but in early February we learned that NZTA’s Wellington office was the go-slow culprit.
Upon hearing that we intervened again through informal discussions with senior NZTA staff and Minister Twyford. In March the chocks were pulled and it was back in AT’s court for progressing. The NZTA delay ran to an incredible 12 months.
Mindful of community and local board expectation Richard and I then wrote to AT’s CEO (attached). Subsequent to that the project is back on track and an experienced transport engineer from Jacobs is now working up the DBC.
The DBC builds on the base evaluations that informed the Indicative Business Case and with more detailed technical evaluations leads to a preferred layout. This ends with detailed design and further application to NZTA for their share of construction funding.
Going forward AT will be re-engaging with key community stakeholders on issues in the next quarter and undertake wider community consultation late in the year.
By May-June 2020 the final design on the main project will be confirmed and then it’s back to NZTA to get over the final hurdle – to secure their share of construction funding. Thereafter we go to tender followed by the first stage of delivery.
Behind the scenes there’s been some stern but constructive words exchanged. We now have real traction.
Apology for the long outline but this has been a long and laborious few months and I thought it needed a bit of depth to the story.
Of course there’s a lot more detail I could expand on and will do so over coming months.