JUNE 10th 2019 Summary of ATs position on the MLRd in response to the hearing in May 19
Full Response by AT Board meeting on the MLRd Hearing
20 Viaduct Harbour Avenue, Auckland 1010 Private Bag 92250, Auckland 1142, New Zealand Phone 09 355 3553 Website www.AT.govt.nz
6 June 2019
Councillor Greg Sayers One Warkworth Deputation to AT Board May 2019
By email: Greg.Sayers@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz; firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Councillor Sayers; and representatives from the One Warkworth Business Association, Warkworth Area Liaison Group and the Matakana, Omaha, Snells Beach and Algies Bay Rate Payers Associations
Deputation to AT Board Meeting May 2019 – Matakana Link Road
Thank you for your deputation to the AT Board meeting of 9 May 2019 and your submission on issues concerning the development of the proposed Matakana Link Road (MLR).
In response to your verbal and written submission, we consider it to be most productive in responding to your concerns via a high-level project status update, responding to some specific questions raised and outlining further engagement moving forward.
Current Project Consenting and Timeframes
While the implementation of the project is currently proposed to be staged, the designation protects the route for the full four lane scope.
AT has worked extensively with adjacent land owners throughout the design. As a result of discussions with adjacent land owners several changes have been made to the project including:
changes to vertical and horizontal alignments to minimise impact on future developable land
relocation of wetland #2 to enable better use of prime developable land
proposed upgrade to the Warkworth Showgrounds footpath to enable maintenance access while also improving the facilities in line with the future greenways route
redesigned the bridge to a three span bridge to minimise the environmental impact
relocated wetland #1 to enable a potential access from development
review of the landslide stability design to reduce the impact on developable land.
The Auckland Transport (AT) MLR hearing was held between 27th March and 1st April 2019, with the written right of reply provided on 9th April 2019. This followed the New Zealand Transport Agency’s
(the Agency) hearing that was held 12th and 13th March 2019.
AT has received the recommendation to approve the requirement for designation and the decision to grant the resource consent applications today.
There is a 15 working day appeal period following the issue of the resource consent decisions.
A good working relationship has been maintained with the affected land owners along the MLR project and the AT team will continue to work directly with them throughout the appeals period, and beyond, to resolve any outstanding issues where practicable and appropriate.
The National Trading Company (Foodstuffs) relocation request of the MLR/SH1 intersection was raised at both the Agency and AT hearings, noting that the location of the intersection is provided for by the Agency designation. It is noted that moving the intersection would impact on a stream. AT with the Agency will continue to engage with Foodstuffs and any other appellants if an appeal is lodged to attempt to resolve with minimal impact on the construction completion.
Land Acquisition and Construction
AT will acquire all the land required for the four-lane design at the same time.
Assuming no delays from appeals or land acquisition, AT is committed to Stage 1 construction by
2021 in time for the opening of Ara Tūhono. The designation boundary will be “rolled” back to the required operational and maintenance boundary of the full four-lane design to provide adjacent land development certainty. At present, noting the intent of the rest of this letter, the Stage 2 construction, within the designation boundary, would not be completed until 2036 or when required and is not currently funded in the Regional Land Transport Plan (RLTP).
Project budget and scope
NZTA has approved funding of $62.7M for Stage 1. This covers all projects costs, including project administration and planning, consenting, property acquisition for the full four lane scope, design and construction, i.e. it is not only the construction cost. This was based on the original staged approach which generally sought to provide two lanes of traffic along the MLR for Stage 1. Stage 2 would upgrade the road to four traffic lanes when required in the future. The budget allows for the design and construction of Stage 1, and full land acquisition for the ultimate four lane design (Stage 2).
A Value Engineering (VE) exercise has been completed on the Stage 1 detailed design. This is a standard process used in the detailed design phase to find efficiencies and savings after progressing from the investigation phase. As a result of this exercise, changes to the earthworks, ground improvements and required land areas have resulted in savings.
The VE process has identified a number of savings and cost reduction opportunities. As previously advised in meetings, these have been used to revise the Stage 1 design to provide approximately 800m of future four lane capacity along the MLR from SH1 to just prior to the bridge crossing. This section has been chosen as it is within the live zoned light industrial area and provides the greatest length of additional infrastructure for the identified savings.
Safety concerns of operating at four lanes for only part of the road as opposed to the full length are currently being assessed.
Additional opportunities for savings could be achieved through land purchase negotiations and collaboration with adjacent land owners regarding earthworks spoil onsite. If this could be achieved, there is potential for the additional capacity in Stage 1 to be continued further across the bridge (Stage 1B).
NZTA has advised early this week (this letter has been delayed as we waited for this initial response) of initial acceptance of the existing budget, with optimised scope delivery. However, this is still subject to final delegated internal approval by the Agency.
When this is confirmed AT will be able to tender both the Stage 1 VE design and Stage 1B to confirm the extent of potential four lanes within existing funding cap as part of Stage 1.
NZTA has caveated this initial funding confirmation to the extent that it does not anticipate further funding scope changes for the project, for example, increasing funding beyond $62.7m.
The MLR project will tie in with NZTA works including the construction of the MLR/SH1 intersection and approximately 60m of the MLR approach (known as the MLR Stub). NZTA’s design is still in progress. NZTA has been requested to provide for the ability to tie in to four lanes.
Cycling and Pedestrian facilities
The current Stage 1 design includes a bi-directional cycle lane and a footpath on the southern side of the new road, with no footpath or cycleway on the northern side. This is in response to feedback.
A cycleway through the showgrounds is a potential future greenways route to be delivered by Council, and is outside the scope of this project. Not providing a cycleway along the new road would not meet AT’s standards for providing for all modes of transport, however, the provision of facilities on both the northern and southern side have been removed. As the area develops, additional walking and cycling facilities will be provided creating connected walking and cycling networks for Warkworth.
Land Use Modelling for the MLR was based on land use scenario i11.4 which is generally accepted for transport analysis. I11.4 uses growth projections formulated based on the Auckland Unitary Plan and the timeframe for growth based on the Future Urban Land Supply Strategy (FULSS). This scenario anticipates a reduction in average household size for Warkworth from 2.5 persons per household in 2013 (per the census) to 2.2 persons per household in 2046. This reflects the wider regional trend towards smaller household sizes, and Auckland’s aging population (the regional average is forecast to reduce from 3.0 to 2.7 persons per household).
This Land Use scenario underpins transport demand modelling, which is based on observed and forecast resident populations. However, for traffic modelling, adjustments are made to ensure consistency with observed traffic count data, so if more traffic is observed in an area, the model is adjusted accordingly. In this way traffic modelling for the MLR has been adjusted such that forecast traffic volumes are reflective of observed traffic volumes in the area.
Traffic models were prepared for the weekend peak based on observed traffic patterns to understand the capacity of MLR to accommodate additional weekend visitor traffic. Sensitivity tests were run using this model where the amount of traffic travelling between the new SH1 and Matakana Road was increased. This analysis showed that a two-lane MLR could accommodate double the existing peak visitor traffic and still operate well within capacity. The weekend model clearly demonstrates that MLR provides a considerable increase in capacity through into Matakana and Omaha.
The traffic modelling for the MLR business case was focussed on the typical weekday peaks with sensitivity testing for the weekend peak.
We propose that a further face-to-face workshop with your representatives is undertaken with AT modellers to discuss any further outstanding queries on the modelling assumptions. This may then be used for any updated business case on the residual scope and timing between Stage 1 and Stage 2 and full four lane construction (assuming this is not achievable as above within existing funding based on tender prices).
Procurement and Contracting
A total budget of $62.7M has been approved. This covers project administration and management, planning, consenting, property acquisition for the full four lane scope, and design and construction for Stage 1.
NZTA has provided preliminary approval (subject to final confirmation) for the VE process savings to be used to build approximately 800m of four lane capacity (i.e. from SH1 to the bridge) subject to safety audit findings for traffic flow.
The 90% design phase is proposed to be completed in June/July, where updated cost estimates will be undertaken. In addition to this an independent parallel estimate will be prepared.
The physical works costs are currently expected to be in the order of $35M (excluding contingencies). These estimates have been peer reviewed independently and are based on the topography and geological conditions, as well as the design. Ultimately the construction costs will be tested in a competitive market tender environment.
Both stage 1 VE design (800m of four lane capacity) and stage 1B extension of four lanes within funding envelope will be tested via competitive tendering.
A number of delivery models have been considered, including Traditional, Early Contractor Involvement (ECI), and direct appointment.
Due to timeframes, consents and land acquisition still to be completed, as well as the relatively simple design and price tension, a traditional approach has been proposed at this stage. A procurement plan is currently being prepared and is proposed to be openly tender to Tier 1 and possible Tier 2 AT physical works panel members.
In the event that NZTA formally confirms existing funding envelope and the ability for AT to maximise scope within this envelope, tender options for Stage 1 VE (800m of four lanes subject to safety audit) and Stage 1B designs is proposed.
An unsolicited proposal was received and assessed. The details of this are commercially sensitive, however, the proposal was brief and did not provide sufficient information to assure the assessors that an acceptable result could be delivered. This was communicated with the applicant.
Hill Street Intersection
The Hill Street intersection is an NZTA asset and any decisions on the future of the intersection sit with NZTA. The Indicative Business Case (IBC) for the Hill Street Intersection Improvements is being progressed by AT and is expected to be finalised in August 2019. This project is not currently funded in the Regional Land Transport Programme (RLTP) but the IBC will provide information to enable NZTA to assess the project as part of the next RLTP.
Supporting Growth Projects
The Southern Interchange, Western Link Road and Sandspit Link Road are all being investigated by the Supporting Growth Alliance (SGA) with a focus on integrating land use and transport development. Across the region only a few projects in the programme have confirmed RLTP/NLTP funding for construction this decade (the MLR being one).
The majority of SGA projects, including the three mentioned above, will be considered in future funding rounds over the next 10-30 years. The SGA Indicative Business Case has been completed, with Detailed Business Cases currently being developed. Timings for implementation of projects will be a key output of the Detailed Business Cases and as such are still to be determined.
Currently the programme for the delivery of infrastructure has a relationship to the current land release in the Future Urban Land Supply Strategy, although it should be noted Council is looking at the land use in more detail currently as part of the Warkworth Structure Plan. If Council elects to fast track live zoning any of the Future Urban Zone, appropriate adjustments will be made to the programme in order to integrate the land use and transport infrastructure.
Is the Warkworth Western Link to be scoped for four lanes or even future proofed for four lanes?
The Warkworth Western Link is being considered within the Supporting Growth Programme. The form of a potential Warkworth Western Link Road has not yet been determined.
The Supporting Growth Programme anticipates progressing to the next stage of more detailed investigations and engagement to refine the routes, including understanding potential form enabling route protection processes. This is expected to be undertaken in a staged way across all growth areas over the next few years.
What is the status of the Southern Interchange business case?
The Supporting Growth Programme has been investigating a potential southern interchange as part of strategic network plans for Warkworth, that are currently progressing through approvals.
Once the preferred networks are approved, the next steps of the Supporting Growth programme are completion of detailed investigations and formal statutory processes required to obtain route protection for the future networks. The aim is to complete business cases and route protection of the preferred networks within the next few years.
The current approved funding of Ara Tūhono (Pūhoi to Warkworth) does not include any allowance for enabling or construction works for a southern interchange, although the alignment allows for a southern interchange to be provided in the future. The primary purpose of any southern interchange would be to support growth in southern Warkworth, which under Auckland Council’s land use planning, is not timed to occur during the next 10 years.
In summary, AT is hopeful that the existing funding envelope along with scope maximisation potential will be confirmed following initial acceptance by NZTA. This will permit tender options to be progressed to determine scope of the final Stage 1 construction based on market prices. AT will also organise a further modelling workshop to discuss modelling assumptions, which may feed into a revised business case for Stage 2, noting NZTA caveat regarding no further funding adjustments. Yours sincerely Mark Lambert
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Drone Flyover April 2019
A Flyover video of the Puhoi to Warkworth RONS construction