Puhoi earthworks start in three months

Despite a wet couple of months there’s been good progress on the Puhoi to Warkworth Project, the first stage of the new Puhoi to Wellsford highway.

THE NEW 18.5 KILOMETRE State Highway 1 motorway between Puhoi and Warkworth is underway with construction under a Private Partnership Project (PPP), the second such arrangement after the Transmission Gully motorway project in Wellington.

The new $709.5 million motorway will extend the Northern Motorway (SH1) from the Johnstone’s Hill tunnels just south of Puhoi to a point north of Warkworth. Under the PPP contract, the Northern Express Group will finance, design, construct, manage and maintain the motorway for the 25 years that will follow the expected five year build (expected to open by 2022). Full ownership of the highway will remain with the public sector.

The Northern Express Group equity partners in the consortium are: Accident Compensation Corporation; Public Infrastructure Partners II LP (managed by Morrison & Co PIP); Acciona Concesiones SL; and Fletcher Building.

The group says that by the end of May over 60 percent of the logging works in the forestry area had been completed, as well as 70 percent of the vegetation clearing works, to make way for the project.

“We have also undertaken significant fencing work to mark the designation boundary and ensure neighbouring properties can continue farming operations.

“Despite a wet couple of months, the team has made good progress with the early works for the project and we’re on target for major earthworks to start in early October.”

A number of Site Access Points (SAPs) have also been set up on local roads and State Highway 1.

“These SAPs are already in use and more will open as work expands.”

The Northern Zone superintendent is Jamie Colquhoun who joined the project after 35 years in the construction industry including the Northern Gateway Toll Road, East Taupo Arterial, Te Rapa Bypass, Tauranga Eastern Link and SH16 Causeway projects.

He says the sheer scale of what’s ahead is massive.

“We have to move 7,000,000 cubic metres of earthworks – that’s about 450,000 truck loads. We have to build over 100 erosion and sediment control ponds and 41 gully and culvert installations in terrain ranging from flat to very steep.”

Urban and Landscape Design Sector Plans (ULDSPs)

Urban and Landscape Design Frameworks (ULDF), the guiding landscape and urban design principles for the project, were developed for the project’s three main sectors – Puhoi; Moir Hill and Hikauae Creek; and Warkworth.

Work completed last month (June) includes laying the first major culvert north of Moir Hill Road and the final of the main project office on Wyllie Road.

This article first appeared in Contractor July 2017.

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