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Thu December 07 2023

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Team picked for $620m replacement of landslip-prone NZ highway

2 Jul 19 New Zealand Transport Agency has picked its preferred team for a new stretch of highway to replace one that has been closed since 2017 because of landslips.

The route will run through Manawatū Gorge
The route will run through Manawatū Gorge

The preferred tenderer for the Te Ahu a Turanga: Manawatū Tararua Highway project is the Advance consortium, made up of Fulton Hogan, HEB Construction, Aurecon and WSP Opus. The total project cost is estimated at NZ$620m (£328m), including project business case, purchase of property required for the scheme, and the pre-implementation and construction phases.

Work on Te Ahu a Turanga: Manawatū Tararua Highway project began in mid-2017 after a series of slips closed the old State Highway 3 through the Manawatū Gorge. Te Ahu a Turanga has been chosen as the project name in recognition of the spiritual, cultural and historical significance of the land.

Portfolio manager Sarah Downs said that Advance will now become part of the interim project alliance, with an intention to proceed to the delivery of the design, regional consents and construction of the project.

“The decision in favour of the preferred alliance was made after a comprehensive tendering process, which commenced in September 2018,” she said. “We had two strong tenders, both demonstrating excellent qualities, and selecting a preferred alliance partner was a difficult decision.”

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About 7,600 vehicles on average used the SH3 gorge route every day when it was open and about 1,100 of these vehicles were trucks.

“With our alliance partners we look forward to delivering a safe and resilient solution for one of the most important transport projects in the country,” said Peter Wiles, WSP Opus director – transport. “Not only will Te Ahu a Turanga connect communities and deliver significant economic benefits when it opens in 2024, it will be an environmental, ecological and cultural project exemplar.”

The new 11.5km long road will include roundabout connections with State Highway 57 south of Ashhurst and with State Highway 3 west of Woodville. The road will have two lanes in each direction over the majority of the route and there will be a new bridge crossing the Manawatū River.  The project design will include the provision of walking and cycling facilities along the new route.

Enabling works for the new route are scheduled to start in September this year and full construction is expected to get under way in 2020, with completion of the project in 2024.

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