29 May 2020

Multi-million dollar boost will aid Transmission Gully restart

6:23 pm on 29 May 2020

Wellington's billion dollar project Transmission Gully is getting a $14 million boost to kick the project back into action as negotiations continue.

Transmission Gully construction

Workers being stranded overseas has contributed to a delay in resuming work on Transmission Gully. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

After 10 weeks of tools down the New Zealand Transport Agency is making an advanced payment to the builder to cover the costs of the Covid-19 shutdown.

But the negotiations are far from over for the Public Private Partnership.

The Transport Agency admitted the $14m was an interim payment which would form part of any final settlement.

The Wellington Gateway Partnership and the builders have agreed to carry out winter works for the next six weeks while a new completion date is decided and discussions about the full financial implications of the Covid-19 delays are negotiated.

The project has already been delayed three times, but the Transport Agency said the recent hold up will put the completion date well into 2021.

"Transmission Gully was scheduled to open by November 2020," said NZTA's general manager Brett Gliddon.

"The shut-down under Covid-19 alert level 4, the subsequent adjustment to work practices and the resulting lost time over the important summer construction season means the completion date will now extend well into 2021."

Gliddon said the winter works would allow the builder to source and bring critical materials onto the site.

"If materials, such as aggregate, are not sourced now there is a risk the materials may not be available later in the season and could cause further delays to the project's completion."

During the winter work Wellington Gateway Partnership and the builders will also look at changing the design of the road surface which it said would improve the quality of the project and speed up the building process.

The builder, CPB, emailed around 100 staff last week saying they would start talks about restructuring but NZTA said this was always in the plans.

Gliddon said during the winter works there would be a reduced workforce.

"The builder had planned for reduced staff numbers over winter for some time.

"The changes in staff numbers are seasonal, part of the usual construction cycles and not Covid-19 related."

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