KRd up­grade al­ready $5m over bud­get

Auckland City Harbour News - - FRONT PAGE - JAMES PASLEY

A much an­tic­i­pated up­grade to Karanga­hape Rd is es­ti­mated to be $5.3 mil­lion dol­lars over bud­get be­fore work has even be­gun.

Auck­land Coun­cil-con­trolled or­gan­i­sa­tion Auck­land Trans­port (AT) re­cently com­pleted a re­view of costs for the en­hance­ment of Karanga­hape Rd (K Rd) and the in­stal­la­tion of a cy­cle­way.

In Septem­ber the project had a bud­get of $11.7m, which rose to $13.5m in April. How­ever, AT now es­ti­mates the up­grade will cost $17m - or 45 per cent more than orig­i­nally in­tended.

Of the $17m $4.5m was specif­i­cally for the cy­cle­way.

The im­prove­ments will be­gin on the in­ter­sec­tion of K Rd and Pon­sonby Rd, and in­clude a sec­tion of Up­per Queen St, end­ing at Sy­monds St. It will up­grade the streetscape and pro­vide new cy­cle lanes, bus lanes and pedes­trian ac­cess.

In 2015 en­vi­ron­men­tal group Gen­er­a­tion Zero cam­paigned for K Rd to get a pro­tected cy­cle­way. It gar­nered sup­port from 100 busi­nesses and a pe­ti­tion with 2500 sig­na­tures.

Gen­er­a­tion Zero spokesman Leroy Beck­ett said it was a cru­cial piece of cy­cling in­fra­struc­ture and it needed to built as soon as pos­si­ble.

‘‘It’s one of the busiest roads for peo­ple on bikes and it’s re­ally dan­ger­ous at the mo­ment,’’ Beck­ett said.

‘‘It’s worth in­vest­ing money here, be­cause we have been so far be­hind in our cy­cling in­fra­struc­ture. We need to in­vest in get­ting it up to scratch so peo­ple can feel safe.’’

AT walk­ing, cy­cling and road safety man­ager Kathryn King said it was work­ing through de­tails of the de­sign and might look at al­ter­ing the project’s scope. It would also re­view the qual­ity and costs of ma­te­ri­als.

‘‘It is too early to say what some of the changes could be,’’ King said.

It was nor­mal for costs to fluc­tu­ate, and AT faced in­creased con­struc­tion costs since the 2015 bud­get was set be­cause of mar­ket forces, she said.

King said with Auck­land gain­ing 45,000 new cy­clists last year the pro­tected cy­cle­way was par­tic­u­larly ex­cit­ing.

Con­struc­tion will be­gin next year.

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