Funding for the 7km Penlink Road and bridge from Whangaparaoa Peninsula to Redvale is included in a $2.2 billion package of Government investment in Auckland roads announced by Minister Phil Twyford on January 29.
The funding provides $411 million, enough to fully fund the building of a two-lane road and bridge across the Weiti River, and brings the projected start date forward to late 2021.
A public private partnership, long considered the way to get the project to happen, is therefore no longer needed.
The road will still be tolled, according to the NZ Transport Agency.
Labour List MP based in Rodney, Marja Lubeck says the road will be future proofed for four lanes and the funding is fantastic news for local people and businesses.
Hibiscus & Bays Local Board member Janet Fitzgerald, who has campaigned with Penlink Now to get the project across the line for more than 15 years, was emotional at the news but says the fight is not over.
“It’s an important day for the community. I want to especially thank the other members of Penlink Now, Marja Lubeck who helped it get into the ATAP programme, NZ First MP Tracey Martin who met with Minister Phil Twyford and worked with Marja, and Mayor Phil Goff who initially did not support Penlink,” Mrs Fitzgerald says.
“When Phil Goff was first elected as Mayor, [Hibiscus & Bays Local Board member] Julia Parfitt and I took him for a drive around the area to show him why Penlink is needed and just before this last election he said he was supporting it. Now he has actually followed through.”
However, Mrs Fitzgerald says she is disappointed that the funding does not permit a four-lane road,
“We need the separate bus lane, as there is no bus lane on Whangaparaoa Road. Public transport on Penlink will be key for commuters,” she says. “I am not stopping until we get the four lane option.”
The NZ Transport Agency’s latest timeline for the project shows that the design contract should be tendered early this year. The construction contract will be tendered towards the end of this year and let by the middle of next year. Construction is to start late next year, with completion late 2025.
Mayor Phil Goff described the funding as a “wise investment in Auckland”, providing infrastructure that will help the city cope with growth.
Other transport projects included in the package are: Mill Road corridor ($1.3 billion, starting late 2022); third lanes in each direction from Papakura to Drury ($423 million, starting late 2020); Third main heavy rail trunk line from Quay St/Britomart station to Wiri Station ($315 million, starting late 2020); Electrification of Papakura to Pukekohe line ($371 million, starting late 2020); Two new train stations in Drury ($247 million, starting 2023);Skypath and Seapath ($360 million, starting 2021).