Yes, we could play the blame game, but look on the bright side – Transmission Gully expressway will soon be open for traffic

One of  New Zealand ’s  great  construction projects  will soon be  open for  traffic.  It  is  the Transmission  Gully  expressway   over  27km north  of  Wellington  from Porirua to  connect  with  the  expressway  south of  Paraparaumu  through to  Otaki.

Wellingtonians  familiar  with  the  Centennial  Highway  (the  sole  highway  at present to the  north  out of  the capital) that dates back to  the  days  of  Labour’s  great roadbuilder, Bob Semple, have  been frustrated   with the  delays  stretching   the  construction period  far  beyond the  original timeline.

Yet  the  blame  game for  the  delays  cannot  disguise  this  project is  an  engineering  marvel   that  will alleviate the traffic bottleneck that  often chokes traffic  moving  to  and  from the  capital.

The four-lane  expressway  will  be  a  particular  boon  for the  heavy traffic  vehicles   that have  become  an essential element in the  supply  chain.  It cuts  through  what  was extremely difficult  terrain   and  those  who have seen  it  from  the  air  say  it  is  a spectacular  achievement  for  the  roadbuilders.

As  with most  other  roading projects, there have  been cost  blow-outs and  Transport  Minister  Michael Wood has  no  doubt  where  the  blame  should lie.

“The delays have been due to National’s botched Public-Private Partnership we inherited,” he said. “We are committed to learning the lessons from National’s mistakes to ensure taxpayers aren’t left with similar delays and messes like the one we have had to fix with this project.”

Former  MP Peter  Dunne  (a  long-time advocate  of  Transmission  Gully)  has a  different take  on it.  He  wrote  earlier:

“An elaborate game of pass the parcel is underway in Wellington about who is responsible for the failure to have the new Transmission Gully Motorway, originally intended for completion in April 2020, and then five projected dates after that.

“Transport Minister Wood has been singularly uninterested in Transmission Gully since taking office. His only statements on Transmission Gully have been to criticise the public-private partnership established by the previous government for the highway’s construction.

“In contrast, he has been far more vocal and positive on the Auckland light rail project which just happens to run close to his Mount Roskill electorate. He has been very keen to ensure progress on that project which the Prime Minister previously promised would be up and running by now”.

Dunne  didn’t  spare   others  for  criticism over the delays, some  which  were  due to Covid  and – earlier –  the  Kaikoura earthquake, when  heavy machinery and their operators  were diverted to repair  work there.  He contended  it  was  beyond belief that the consenting authorities were not better geared up to act in time for the roadway to be opened.

Dunne  fingered  the Greater Wellington Regional Council, the major consenting authority,  which he  said “lazily denies any responsibility for the delay, placing all the blame on the road building company”.

But  now Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has announced Transmission Gully   is set to open to traffic by the end of the month.

What  motorists may find ironic is  that Waka Kotahi  talked  about  a “huge amount of work” on the project over the summer.  It is now confident the road has reached a stage where it is safe for public use.

One member of  the team,  a  regular escapee  from the capital,  is looking forward with  much  enthusiasm  to checking out the  new  marvel.

Another is looking forward to the new highway significantly reducing the flow of traffic on the road where he lives.

One thought on “Yes, we could play the blame game, but look on the bright side – Transmission Gully expressway will soon be open for traffic

  1. This marvelous new highway, a key project in the former National Government’s Roads of National Significance program, will serve as a daily reminder of how utterly useless the Ardern regime are. They have failed to deliver a single piece of infrastructure of any note, despite their grandiose promises, while running up an enormous burden of debt for future generations. No wonder they take every opportunity to smear Transmission Gully.

    Liked by 2 people

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