Ground surveys to start for Mill Road transport corridor


The Mill Road transport project in southern Auckland is stepping up work to confirm the preferred route for construction to start in stages from late 2022.

The project will upgrade the existing two-lane sections of Mill Road to four lanes, with new sections through greenfield areas. It will support rapid growth in the area, improve safety and provide more transport choices with separate walking and cycling facilities.

The new corridor will also build greater resilience into Auckland’s state highway network and help reduce traffic demand on SH1 by providing a safe easy-to-use alternative route for local trips. The Government has guaranteed $1.354 billion for the project as part of the New Zealand Upgrade Programme.

To help determine the preferred route for Mill Road, survey teams will be carrying out geotechnical, ecology, topographical and general surveys from this month, says Waka Kotahi Senior Manager Project Delivery Andrew Thackwray.
“The surveys will tell us a lot more about the type of rock and soil in the area to the plants and animals that live there. That helps with the decision on the route, but also how we manage and mitigate the impacts of the project.”

Landowners within the project area are being contacted by the project team and advised of the survey work to be undertaken. It will range from truck-mounted rigs drilling into the ground to excavators collecting soil and subsurface samples and other equipment monitoring underground water.

Ecological investigations will assess the environment for plants and animals. This includes surveying vegetation and streams to establish the presence of native birds, bats and lizards and how their habitat might be protected.

“We had planned to start this work earlier in the year but COVID-19 has disrupted that,” says Andrew Thackwray.

“Now as we prepare to visit many properties in the area, we want to assure people that health and safety is our priority under all COVID-19 Alert Levels.  We have a COVID-19 plan in place to align with strict industry standards provided by Construction Health and Safety NZ. These plans are closely monitored to ensure each contractor is complying with strict health and safety requirements to keep all workers, road users and the community safe.”

The surveys follow recent public consultation on Mill Road where some people said construction should start as soon as possible,” says Andrew Thackwray.

“People said they want us to consider the needs of other users, not just motorists, and the impact on plants and animals should be carefully managed.”

“People told us they were concerned about the impacts on home and businesses. We understand how stressful this can be for people and we’re committed to continuing to consult with landowners and the community as the project develops.”

The Mill Road project is funded through the New Zealand Upgrade Programme, which is investing $6.8 billion in transport projects to save lives, get our cities moving and boost productivity in the country’s growth areas. Waka Kotahi is delivering 20 projects that support a shift to greater transport choice with a balanced investment in public transport, new or upgraded roads, walking and cycling.

In southern Auckland, Waka Kotahi and KiwiRail will begin construction of $2.395 billion of transport improvements within the next three years. This includes Mill Road, upgrades to the motorway corridor between Papakura to Drury South, separated walking and cycling paths, Papakura to Pukekohe rail electrification and new rail stations for Drury.

For more on the Mill Road project, see link)

Feedback received during the public consultation in May/June is being analysed and a summary can be read at: link)

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