26 May 2011

Business groups welcome Waterview road decision

12:53 pm on 26 May 2011

Business groups in Auckland say a new road through the suburbs of Mt Albert and Waterview will benefit contractors, businesses, residents and motorists.

The $2 billion Waterview Connection will complete Auckland's north-western motorway corridor, providing an alternative route from north to south. It has been granted a draft consent by a Board of Inquiry.

Auckland Business Forum chairman Michael Barnett says the connection will give people better choices in respect of where they live and work, and will improve traffic congestion.

Mr Barnett says it will be great for Aucklanders to have a fully integrated motorway network.

Contractors Federation chief executive Jeremy Sole says the project will increase contractors' skill and capability, as well as create more work for small and medium sized sub-contractors.

The Waterview Connection is the first roading project being considered using the new national consenting process introduced by the Government to fast-track projects of national significance.

The New Zealand Transport Agency says construction is likely to get underway by the end of the year.

Spokesperson Tommy Parker told Morning Report the draft consent gives the agency the certainty it needs to get on with the job, and it can now go ahead and award a contract.

Mr Parker says it won't be clear how much the required changes to the motorway will cost, until the competitive process for the contract is completed.

The Labour MP for Mt Albert, David Shearer, says the local community has gone through a lot of stress, but the changes and conditions involved in the consent are helpful.

He says they include more cycleways and enhanced green spaces.