Gully road surges as work hits halfway mark


The count­down is on: Trans­mis­sion Gully is halfway fin­ished and set to open in two years’ time.

Work on the $850 mil­lion, four-lane mo­tor­way be­tween north­ern Welling­ton and the Ka¯piti Coast had surged ahead in re­cent months, project di­rec­tor Boyd Knights said.

A peak work­force of up to 950 peo­ple moved more than 3.5 mil­lion cu­bic me­tres of soil over the sum­mer and four of the project’s 27 struc­tures were now com­pleted, he said.

‘‘We’re in a great po­si­tion mov­ing into the next phases of works for the new mo­tor­way.’’

De­scribed as one of the most tech­ni­cally chal­leng­ing road­ing projects ever seen in New Zealand, work on the 27-kilo­me­tre mo­tor­way started in 2014.

Knights cred­ited fine weather and a keen work­force for break­ing the back of the project and Welling­ton Gate­way Part­ner­ship (WGP) chief ex­ec­u­tive Ser­gio Me­jia said it boded well for fu­ture work.

‘‘We are on sched­ule to com­plete what will be one of New Zealand’s safest, most re­silient - not to men­tion most keenly an­tic­i­pated mo­tor­ways - in 2020.’’

Since its start, more than four mil­lion work-hours had been com­pleted.

Porirua City coun­cil­lor Anita Baker said the project had been noth­ing but pos­i­tive for the city.

‘‘It’s ab­so­lutely ex­cit­ing for Porirua, it gives us great po­ten­tial for fu­ture de­vel­op­ment.’’

While fu­ture plans could see sub­di­vi­sions and busi­ness parks spring up around the mo­tor­way, its ef­fects were al­ready be­ing no­ticed, she said.

‘‘Busi­nesses are al­ready do­ing a lot out of it and work­ers have been rent­ing in the city. Gov­ern­ment de­part­ments are al­ready mov­ing here be­cause of it.’’

Baker said the mo­tor­way would link the city to Welling­ton and Ka¯piti, mak­ing it eas­ier for com­muters. ‘‘It will al­most cre­ate a su­per city, dare I say it.’’

It hasn’t all been smooth sail­ing, with the project hav­ing had its fair share of chal­lenges along the way in­clud­ing the Kaiko¯ura earth­quake and its af­ter­math as well as mul­ti­ple tor­ren­tial rain show­ers and sub­se­quent slips.

With win­ter hav­ing al­ready taken hold of the re­gion and day­light hours fad­ing fast, the project team will turn their at­ten­tion away from earth­works to fo­cus on plant­ing, installing en­vi­ron­men­tal con­trols and con­tin­u­ing work on the project’s re­main­ing struc­tures.

The next bulk earth­works sea­son will start in Oc­to­ber. Four in­ter­changes and two new link roads will con­nect the route to Mack­ays, SH58 (Hay­wards Hill), eastern Porirua and Kenepuru.

WGP, a pri­vate group of fi­nanciers and con­trac­tors, hold the con­tract to main­tain the mo­tor­way for 25 years af­ter con­struc­tion.

To­gether with the $630m Ka¯piti Ex­press­way fur­ther north, and a project un­der way to ad­dress con­ges­tion in Welling­ton cen­tral, it is hoped the mo­tor­way will make the jour­ney in and out of the cap­i­tal safer and faster.

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