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Alliance partners named for Auckland transport projects

Work to transform the way Aucklanders travel has accelerated with the announcement of two preferred bidders to plan and design the next phases of the city’s expanding rapid transit and multi modal transport network – Waitematā Harbour Connections and Auckland Light Rail (ALR).

A joint statement from Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and ALR said advancing a modern and world-class rapid transit system and transforming the way Aucklanders get around their city, including crossing the Waitematā Harbour, had attracted two outstanding teams with significant national and international experience.

“Appointing the preferred bidders marks a big step forward to deliver two vitally important projects our city needs to sustainably grow and prosper,” they said.

While ALR and the Waitematā Harbour Connections are separate projects, together they underpin expansion of a rapid transit system better connecting road, rail, bus, walking and cycling links. The projects will encourage quality growth, give people more travel choices, make the transport network for Auckland and beyond more resilient, and tackle congestion and harmful pollution.

An alliance of four companies, WSP, Beca, SYSTRA and COX Architecture has been named as preferred bidder for the next phase of the Waitematā Harbour Connections project.

 The companies in the preferred alliance for the next phase of Auckland Light Rail are Aurecon and Arup. 

Both alliances are responsible for the planning and design of their respective projects, which are at different phases of development.

ALR project director Tommy Parker said the line would be 24 kilometres long – half of it underground – connecting people to work and study at job centres in the city and at Auckland Airport.

“Light rail will be frequent, quicker, safer and more reliable, halving travel times between the central city and most destinations on its route,” he said.

“Light rail will open up access to many new quality homes in growing suburbs by driving housing and business development along the route and becoming a catalyst for neighbourhood regeneration and people-friendly streets.

“The ALR alliance will work on a final route for light rail and proposed locations of up to 18 stations. It will also develop light rail’s final corridor business case, building on the indicative business case developed by the ALR establishment unit, as well as look at how the system will be built and prepare the consents needed for construction.”

Waka Kotahi transport services general manager Brett Gliddon said Waitematā Harbour Connections would investigate connections for all modes, to shape the future of the city, the region and beyond.

“By mid next year, Waitematā Harbour Connections team plans to deliver a recommendation for a package of transport improvements as part of a indicative business case. This will encompass all modes including light rail, buses, connections for walking and cycling, vehicles and freight, along with determining the future use of the Auckland Harbour Bridge. These long-term solutions will require significant investment and involve complex large-scale construction, anticipated to take more than 15 years of design and construction work,” he said.

Both alliances were named preferred bidders after a competitive and independent tender process involving New Zealand and international companies.

Two additional and separate contracts have also been awarded by ALR.

Atkins NZ (SNC-Lavalin) will work with Aurecon and Arup to develop the way light rail is operated and maintained when open.

The law firms Buddle Findlay and Simpson Grierson will progress the legal work for ALR.