A giant girder is manoeuvred into place at the Puhoi viaduct section of the motorway.
The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) has chipped in a further $85 million to cover the cost of delays in construction of the Puhoi to Warkworth motorway in the wake of Covid-19.
The funding comes in addition to an earlier NZTA payment of $83 million to cover extra costs and delays to work at the northern end of the project, caused by land purchases taking longer than expected and appeals in the Environment Court.
The motorway was due to open at the end of 2021, but is now expected to open in time for Queen’s Birthday weekend in 2022.
NZTA general manager Brett Gliddon says the Alert Level 4 lockdown in April meant nearly five weeks of the earthmoving season was lost. The resumption of work under Alert Level 3, with strict health and safety protocols, also affected the work programme.
“At the time of the shutdown, the earthmoving season was in full swing, to move up to three million cubic metres of earth across the project during the summer months. Not being able to finish that work has had a knock-on effect for the planned winter construction programme.” Mr Gliddon says.
“Together with the contractor, we have agreed a new programme to get the project finished as quickly as possible while maintaining high standards and keeping health and safety as our top priority.”
Mr Gliddon says the $85 million payment to constructor Fletcher/ACCIONA is consistent with payments made to other construction companies affected by Covid-19 on projects across the country.
The extra money brings the NZTA’s total agreed contribution to the project to $877.5 million.
When it opens in mid-May 2022, the Ara Tūhono – Pūhoi to Warkworth motorway will extend the four-lane Northern Motorway (SH1) 18.5km from the Johnstones Hill tunnels to just north of Warkworth.
Fletcher/ACCONIA was engaged to build the motorway by the contractor Northern Express Group (NX2).
NX2 is responsible for financing, designing, building, maintaining and operating the motorway for up to 25 years.