The NZ Transport Agency has taken another step towards building the new Puhoi to Warkworth motorway by announcing the consortia shortlisted to progress to the next stage of the project.
Transport Agency Chief Executive Geoff Dangerfield says the building of the motorway is a significant step towards improving the safety, reliability and resilience of State Highway 1 between Northland and the upper North Island freight triangle of Auckland, Waikato and Tauranga.
A Board of Inquiry confirmed approval of the Transport Agency’s application for designation and resource consents for the project in September 2014. This was followed, in May 2015, by Cabinet approving an application by the Transport Agency to procure the motorway through a Public Private Partnership (PPP).
The consortia shortlisted to receive a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the financing, design, construction, management and maintenance of the Puhoi to Warkworth project under a PPP are Northlink, Northern Express Group, and Pacific Connect.
Mr Dangerfield says the announcement of the shortlisted consortia comes after a rigorous evaluation and selection process.
“We are very fortunate to have such high-quality companies and organisations showing an interest in the Puhoi to Warkworth project. All of these companies and organisations have sound experience in delivering large infrastructure projects.
“I’m confident that any of these consortia can deliver a high-quality motorway which will provide greater resilience, improved road safety and journey time reliability, and a better connection for freight, tourism and motorists.”
Subject to successful contract negotiations with the Preferred Bidder, the PPP contract for the project is expected to be awarded in October 2016.
A PPP contract will likely see the PPP consortium manage and maintain the motorway for the 25 years that will follow the anticipated six-year period to build it.
“Using a PPP for key infrastructure projects will open the door for private sector innovations that are not always achievable under traditional public sector procurement methods,” says Mr Dangerfield.
“PPPs allow specific outcomes to be established and measured – and for risks to be identified and transferred to the private sector.
Under a PPP, full ownership of the motorway will always remain with the public sector.
Tentatively, construction of the Puhoi to Warkworth motorway, under a PPP arrangement, could possibly start in late 2016 with the road completed and open by 2022.
No decision has been made on tolling for the Puhoi to Warkworth route but should the motorway be tolled, the Transport Agency would retain responsibility for tolling.