Thousands of new jobs in the infrastructure sector will result from Auckland Transport's announcement to proceed with a Registration of Interest (ROI) for an integrated design, engineering and construction partner consortium to deliver the remaining stages of the $1.4b AMETI Eastern Busway project between Pakuranga and Botany.
The contract value for the construction phase alone will be $450m - with the total spend on stages 2, 3 and 4 being $700m. As the agency responsible for delivering the project, Auckland Transport will form an alliance partnership with the successful consortium.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said the decision to proceed with the next three stages of the Eastern Busway makes the project one of the biggest investment decisions across the whole of Auckland.
"It represents a total spend of $700 million, with huge benefits for expanding rapid public transit, cycling and walking as well as easing pressure on traffic congestion," he says.
"Coming as we recover from the COVID-19-induced international recession, it will create a much-needed boost to jobs and incomes and assist Auckland’s economic recovery."
Howick Ward Councillors Sharon Stewart and Paul Young also welcome the decision.
"This project will be transformational for regional public transport," Councillor Stewart says.
Councillor Young says "This investment provides certainty and will help tackle congestion on our transport network."
Minister of Transport Phil Twyford says the Eastern Busway is an important project which will help boost Auckland's post-COVID-19 economy and create jobs.
"The Registration of Interest for stages 2 to 4 proceeding is another step closer to East Auckland finally getting the transport links it deserves and is part of our Government's $29 billion transport infrastructure plan with Auckland Council," he says.
"It will help give East Aucklanders a congestion-free alternative to sitting in traffic and a less than 40 minute commute from Botany to the CBD."
Targeted for completion in 2025, stages 2, 3 and 4 of the project will extend the rapid transit network, high frequency busway currently under construction between Panmure and Pakuranga, and from Pakuranga Plaza through to Botany Town Centre.
The project will include the congestion-free busway along Ti Rakau Drive, major stations at Pakuranga and Botany Town Centres, a flyover connecting Pakuranga Road with Waipuna Bridge, along with extensive cycling, walking, placemaking and environmental improvements.
AT will also include social procurement measures as part of the tendering process. This will require commitment from suppliers to deliver positive environmental, cultural, social and employment outcomes – such as local community employment and upskilling, during the design and construction phases.
Shane Ellison, Chief Executive of Auckland Transport, says that in addition to the economic benefits of a large-scale contract being launched to the market, the concept of forming an alliance to fast-track overall design, consenting and construction of the whole project is also a major factor in this procurement; with enhanced focus on improving community and transport outcomes while reducing impacts through greater industry collaboration and access to expertise and resources.
"This is the first time AT has adopted the alliance model and it is the best option for a project of this scale and complexity. Forming an alliance is a tested tool for delivering complex large-scale projects across the world and some good local examples include the Waterview Connection, Northern Corridor Improvements and Wynyard Edge," Mr Ellison says.
The Eastern Busway Alliance will be formed in late 2020, and will move quickly towards finalising design and working to lodgment of consent in 2021, followed by construction of the full works in 2022. The Alliance also provides the opportunity to target early enabling works in advance of the main construction works.
"We have received uniquely intense interest from industry and look forward to progressing our conversations with these organisations very shortly," says Mr Ellison.
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Director of Regional Relationships, Steve Mutton, says the AMETI Eastern Busway will create faster, more reliable and more connected public transport solutions for Auckland's eastern communities.
"The dedicated urban busway, with supporting cycling and walking paths, will provide transport options so people won't have to use private vehicles to get to work, school and to the shops. The busway will also connect with a future rapid transit network linking Botany to a rail and bus interchange at Puhinui and along SH20B to Auckland Airport."
Stage 1 of the project between Panmure and Pakuranga is currently under construction and targeted for completion in 2021.