Bridges is­sue fires up can­di­dates

The Bay Chronicle - - WHAT’S ON - BAY­LEY MOOR

With the elec­tion just weeks away, can­di­dates are get­ting fired up over North­land’s con­tentious bridges.

Na­tional’s Matt King says Win­ston Peters is spread­ing mis­truths about the Gov­ern­ment’s prom­ise to up­grade ten North­land bridges.

The Gov­ern­ment pledged to build ten dou­ble-lane bridges across North­land in the 2015 by­elec­tion, which they ul­ti­mately lost to New Zealand First leader Win­ston Peters.

King says the prom­ise was made for the bridges to be com­pleted over a six year pe­riod. Fund­ing has been ap­proved to re­place the Hardies and An­der­son bridges at Matakohe be­tween Wells­ford and Dar­gav­ille and one at Taipa.

‘‘The de­sign and build­ing con­tracts ap­proval has been given, to do the first four bridges and fund­ing has been re­leased for three,’’ King says.

Civil con­struc­tion firm Ful­ton Ho­gan and en­gi­neer Aure­con were awarded the $40.7m con­tract for the works at Matakohe and Taipa. This con­tract could be ex­tended to in­clude the Kaeo con­struc­tion.

Peters is adamant noth­ing has been done on the bridges.

‘‘Two and a half years [af­ter the pledge] and they have turned the sods at Matakohe. Noth­ing has been done. Seven bridges have gone miss­ing - Waima­maku, what’s hap­pened to them?

A sod-turn­ing cer­e­mony was held at Matakohe in April, with earth­works due to start in Oc­to­ber, if the weather per­mits, King says. Taipa’s bridge con­struc­tion is ex­pected to be­gin later this year, while Kaeo’s new bridge was ex­pected to get un­der­way late 2018.

With the first three bridges set to cost $40.7m and the orig­i­nal cost of all ten bridges (out­lined in 2015) set to be be­tween $32m and $69m, King con­ceded that the orig- inal fig­ures were wrong and an es­ti­mate. King said a 3km realign­ment of the road at Matakohe had added to the cost.

‘‘Show us the NZTA timetable on when it’s go­ing to hap­pen and where is the en­gi­neer­ing work that backs it up?’’ Peters says. ‘‘The lo­cals want them [Na­tional] to keep their prom­ise, two and a half years af­ter the prom­ise was made.’’

Fund­ing for the re­main­ing six bridges were not in­cluded in the Land Trans­port pro­gramme an­nounced in 2015 af­ter the by­elec­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.