PHOTO: Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas
A review into Wellington’s billion dollar highway Transmission Gully has found the project was flawed from the start.
The 27 kilometre stretch of motorway was supposed to cost $850 million but has now exceeded a budget of $1.25 billion.
The report, lead by an international expert reviewer Steve Richards and peer reviewed by Sir Michael Cullen and Lindsay Crossen has found serious flaws at the planning stage of the public-private partnership project, undermining its successful completion.
It was commissioned in August last year after the Transport Agency had to pay another $209.7million to get the project back on track after the Covid-19 lockdown.
Official documents show the negotiations went on for months and the contract could have been terminated completely.
The interim report focused on how the project was initially priced, whether that price was realistic and whether the risks identified were appropriately considered.
Transmission Gully is the first motorway in New Zealand to be delivered under a public-private partnership (PPP) model set up under the National government in 2012.
It is being built in partnership between the Transport Agency-Waka Kotahi and the Wellington Gateway Partnership who are responsible for the design, construction and financing of the project.
The road was supposed to be completed by April 2020 but was delayed by more than a year because of significant re-estimation of earthwork requirements, storm events, the Kaikōura earthquake and Covid-19.
Responding to the review, Infrastructure Minister Grant Robertson said it is clear that when initially drawn up, the public-private partnership lacked proper rigour and consideration.
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