Yes – Hamilton needs another bridge
Hamilton is chasing Brisbane’s crown as the ‘bridge city’ as its council trumps on with the final procurement phase of a $150 million project to build a huge new bridge over the Waikato River, south of the city.
The bridge, along with some associated works, is expected to be completed in 2023 and the council says the project “will form a large plank” in its plans for leading the region out of the ‘virus recession’.
The new bridge had already been budgeted in the council’s long-term plan with over half of the cost funded through a Transport Agency subsidy. The rest of the cost will be covered by a 10-year interest-free government loan via the Housing Infrastructure Fund.
The project was already ahead of schedule and now the contract is in the hands of three shortlisted civil contracting consortiums for pricing before the end of June. The timing allows the successful contractor to begin construction in the 2020/21 summer season.
Hamilton mayor Paula Southgate says; “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.”
The bridge will connect to new Peacocke neighbourhood being built in southern Hamilton, which council chief executive Richard Briggs says is already six months ahead of schedule.
“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.”
These efforts are acknowledged by the NZ Construction Sector Accord, a joint commitment from government and industry to create a high performing construction sector.
“The Accord congratulates Hamilton City Council and its continued commitment to these significant construction and services contracts,” it says.
“This is occurring at a time when the construction sector employees and businesses, are under real pressure. This continued leadership makes a difference.”
When complete, the new Peacocke neighbourhood will home around 20,000 residents with the bridge featuring vehicle and walking lanes, and will be a conduit for water and utility services. It 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, while road landscaping and new wetland areas are being aligned to support flightpaths for the endangered long-tailed bat.