14 Jul 2009

Auckland motorway work to start sooner

5:19 am on 14 July 2009

Work on Auckland's Victoria Park motorway project has been brought forward, and will now begin a year ahead of schedule.

Construction on a three-lane northbound tunnel beneath the park and an additional four southbound lanes on the existing viaduct will begin in November.

The $430 million project was originally supposed to get underway in November 2010, but the Government had already moved that forward to January.

On Monday, the Government announced that a consortium known as V-Formation, which includes Fletcher Construction and Higgins Contractors, will begin work in November, or possibly as early as September.

Transport Minister Steven Joyce says 165,000 vehicles use the existing road each day, creating a chokepoint at peak times and reducing the city's productivity.

He believes the project will generate more than 1,300 jobs.

The consortium hopes to have the project completed in time for the Rugby World Cup in 2011.

Transport Agency chairman Brian Roche says the landmark Birdcage Tavern, which was built in 1886, will be preserved and moved 30 metres up the road from its current address.

He says other amenities such as the park's cricket ground will be reinstated after the project is completed.