Not a bridge too far: Council keeps up pace on $150m project to span Waikato River
Hamilton City Council is entering "the final procurement phase" of a $150 million project to build a big new bridge over the Waikato River, south of Hamilton.
It's part of an initiative the council has maintained progress on, in spite of the Coronavirus pandemic and subsequent nationwide lockdown.
The bridge, along with some associated works, is expected to be completed in 2023 and it will form a large plank in the council's plans for leading the region out of the Covid-19 recession.
The contract has gone to three shortlisted consortiums for pricing before the end of June, following several months of discussion and detailed evaluation of prospective tenderers.
The project was ahead of schedule and the timing would allow the successful tender to begin construction in the 2020/21 summer season.
The new bridge had been budgeted in the council's long-term plan and just over half of the $150m cost will be funded through a Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency subsidy.
The remaining costs will be covered by a 10-year interest-free government loan via the Housing Infrastructure Fund.
Hamilton mayor Paula Southgate said her council was committed to "getting on with the job".
"The last thing I want to see now are planned, budgeted and carefully managed projects go on hold. It's the last thing this city needs when we are worried about jobs and keeping families secure.
"At the time we were planning this, we could never have foreseen the circumstances we face today. But being ready to go earlier than expected is a massive bonus and I want to thank our staff and our partners for that."
Council chief executive Richard Briggs said maintaining momentum on the infrastructure programme for the new Peacocke neighbourhood in southern Hamilton - which was already six months ahead of schedule - was especially important now.
"To be able to complete the documentation and processes to go to tender this week really shows the adaptability and focus of the Council's staff, contractors and our partner agencies in difficult circumstances. We were able to keep this project moving with the support of the three tendering consortiums, who all said they were ready, willing and able to work on their tender documents during lockdown."
"This commitment means we can make use of the summer construction window, providing job security, new employment opportunities, a local and regional economic boost and ultimately deliver more housing, sooner, for our city."
The efforts have been acknowledged by the NZ Construction Sector Accord, a joint commitment from government and industry to create a high performing construction sector.
"The NZ Construction Accord congratulates Hamilton City Council and its continued commitment to these significant construction and services contracts. This is occurring at a time when the construction sector employees and businesses, are under real pressure. This continued leadership makes a difference," a statement from the Accord declared.
When complete, Peacocke will be home for around 20,000 people.
The bridge will include walking and cycling lanes and would also act as a conduit for water and utility services. will connect to Hamilton East and the city's ring road via a new interchange at Wairere Dr and Cobham Dr, now under construction.
The wider project will include the planting of more than 135,000 plants and around 1000 trees, including fruit trees and a grove of heritage flax species to protect the resource for raranga (weaving).
Road landscaping and new wetland areas are being aligned to support flightpaths for the endangered long-tailed bat.
For more information go to: Not a bridge too far: Council keeps up pace on $150m project to span Waikato River