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Transmission Gully: $60m before a sod even turned

Written By: - Date published: 12:01 pm, March 1st, 2013 - 33 comments
Categories: transport - Tags:

So far, the government has spent $33 million on Transmission Gully. They’re planning on spending another $30m just to sign the contract on the Public-Private Partnership. That’s over $60m down the drain on a project with only $360-$500m of benefits before a single metre of road is built. All up, the cost will be $3.4 billion – trebled by using the PPP model.

What an almighty waste of our money.

If the coffers were overflowing, Transmission Gully would be the last thing you would spend the money on. And they’re not. Instead, we have a long list of things that are ‘too expensive in the current fiscal environment’ – things like lifting kids out of poverty, building a rail loop so that Auckland’s CBD won’t grind to a halt, and investing in environmental sustainability.

Let’s call the $33 million they’ve wasted on Transmission Gully a lesson learned, cut our losses, and spend the $3.4 billion on something worthwhile.

33 comments on “Transmission Gully: $60m before a sod even turned ”

  1. Rogue Trooper 1

    Yep!

  2. BM 2

    I’m sure a lot in the Wellington region would disagree.

    • Pascal's bookie 2.1

      There’s quite a few people here. I’m sure there are very few statements for which your comment would not be true.

    • Lightly 2.2

      If the government was going to build a heated pool in my backyard, I would be happy. Doesn’t mean it would be a sensible use of taxpayer money.

      • BM 2.2.1

        That could be a vote winner for me.
        Can someone float it past Dave and see what he says?

      • aerobubble 2.2.2

        The gully route is, surely, required to provide another route into Wellington in case of Earthquake.
        And for this reason the poorer value for money can be overlooked.
        The problem is however that it looks like a pork eating contest.
        It would be cheaper to build extra ferries and have access to car ferries from other parts of the country that can be brought into the crisis.

        But Key knocked back the Clark policy of expanding coastal freight, etc.

        Given the changing nature of transport, cheap oil, surely it would be easier to
        put up a few hill whatsmathings and have a giant car park, on the other side
        of the hills.

        • Pascal's bookie 2.2.2.1

          ,i>The gully route is, surely, required to provide another route into Wellington in case of Earthquake.

          I’m a tad suspicious about the logic of this argument.

          Firstly, TG isn’t an alternative route into Wellington. You’ll still need to come down Ngauranga gorge, and over all the reclaimed land up to around and over the railway yards. Any earth quake that takes out the coastal highway is pretty likely to leave the actual entrance to wellington from the north munted as well.

          TG will provide an alternate to the coastal route, but will it survive an earth quake that takes out that route? Maybe, maybe not. Could be we end up with two munted roads for that part of the tripo, and well have to decide which is easiest cheapest and quickest to fix.

          • aerobubble 2.2.2.1.1

            Sorry, I thought that was why they were so keen to have GT, and yes I agree, what a waste of money. Better to put up some cable cars (that are easily fixable) and have a road+rail along the top (or something), with more jetties for ferries, etc.

  3. infused 3

    We do disagree its 60 years overdue. I hope labour push this issue

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      Declines in car use will continue.

      • aerobubble 3.1.1

        As population increase it will be impossible to have the ratio of cars per person we do, and so inevitable that mass transport will dictate the terms of the available land for roading. i.e. even if we do find the energy either we build floating cars or fit better solutions into the current road space.
        Guessing.

  4. tc 4

    Come on Zet you know that’s never going to happen as it’s important to have as many smoking holes in the ground as possible in order to plunder a zero nett debt position into a manufactured crises.

    You gotta hand it to them they sure do know how to roll out those pork barrells.

  5. Rupert the Beer 5

    I wonder if National’s internal polls in Otaki and Mana are suggesting those seats could change hands in 2014?

  6. HG 6

    The upgrade of the Wellington to Levin corridor is so overdue, T-Gully is a part of that. Lets get it done – Basin flyover as well while we are at it. Wellingtonians are sick of sitting in needless traffic jams!!

    • tc 6.1

      So are aklanders

    • ghostwhowalksnz 6.2

      Isnt going to change with the new motorway- I guess you havent checked the plans – its only a 2 lane rd, with a toll.

      Aucklanders will tell you any new motorways only increase the jams

      • HG 6.2.1

        I guess you aren’t as on top of the plans as you think you are. Either that or you just lie for the convenient sake of your argument.

        T-Gully will be four lanes – as hopefully will the whole corridor to Levin eventually

        http://www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/transmission-gully/faqs.html

        • Luxated 6.2.1.1

          Four lanes, two in each direction. I’ve seen this being commonly referred to as a two lane road (after all that’s all you can make use of at any one time while you’re driving on it).

    • Richard Down South 6.3

      At what cost… $3b? $5b? to save $100-200m?

    • Draco T Bastard 6.4

      Then you should be demanding better PT. More roads = more congestion.

    • rosy 6.5

      ‘Wellingtonians are sick of sitting in needless traffic jams!!’

      The city were all going to be solved by Karo Drive, weren’t they? And by moving the buses to save 2 minutes? So far there’s no improvement for cars and it’s more difficult and dangerous for non-motorised traffic to get around. The only way to solve future traffic jams is getting cars off the road. There’s really not a lot of room in the city for more traffic.

      Improving pedestrian and cyclist paths in the city, public and other shared transport options are the only way to go.

      I do agree about the Wellington to Levin corridor upgrade – long overdue – but the traffic jams won’t be solved by Transmission Gully – they’re a bit further north than that.

      • bad12 6.5.1

        You do mean South don’t you as far as the traffic jams go???, Transmission Gully will simply allow the Wellington bound traffic from Kapiti to reach the Tawa motorway at the current peak time thus locking up the system from Tawa South-ward,

        Paremata/Plimmerton residents will be pleased so long of course they too are not trying to access Wellington via the Tawa motorway,

        Some cars will be taken out of the equation at the proposed Pauahatanui interchange which will allow Kapiti/Hutt traffic to exit the Wellington bound system at that point,

        Ah the makings of a 3 billion dollar cluster-f**k, or should i say a 4.5 billion dollar one as you can bet that when they get into the Gully the cost over-runs will be horrendous as the whole length of the thing (Transmission gully) is an old earth-quake fault-line…

        • rosy 6.5.1.1

          No, I mean North – when talking about the Levin -Wellington corridor it’s the long distance holiday and truck traffic I’m thinking of. The rush into/from Wellington always ends in a crawl between Levin and Otaki – in my experience anyway.

          I don’t know about the commuter view, but if what you’re saying is correct it’s still going to make Transmission Gully the wrong answer by creating a bottleneck closer to Wellington rather than actually relieving congestion.

    • bad12 6.6

      As far as the Basin Flyover goes you would have to be really dense to sit in a traffic jam there at all, i use the bays in the rush hour and have as yet never had to sit in a traffic jam full stop…

  7. Hey Shearer, put TG in reverse, put in rapid rail for half the cost, get some vision.
    HG, hitchhike, strap on a jetpack, broaden your horizons.

    • MrSmith 7.1

      You mean public transport RR, forget it, the torys don’t like to sit with the commoners, it’s the smell don’t you know, all that sweating and coughing from the pesants.

      • aerobubble 7.1.1

        I thought the wealthy had a fetish for smelling the hard work of the working man and women.

  8. Tim 8

    This would be an example of one of the world’s most over-consulTANT-ed project ever.
    How about this for a radical idea:?
    Since formation work and road construction usually encompassed something more than a 3 metre strip either side of the madness – how about that formation is preserved as a strip for a rail corridor.
    One that could provide for
    a) freight trains in order than they miss out a huge amount of residential area
    b) an option for Waikanae (and perhaps in future, further north passengers), Pram to go express until a NEW service that encompasses Pauatanui (incorrect spelling), Whitby, Cannon’s Creek, Pro East etc.
    Mmmm. How about this for a radical idea:? Silly question really. The answer is Steven Joyce.

    Actually despite being a Kapiti Ratepayer (and one that will sell once the danger of negative equity passes) – I don’t have much sympathy for most of the Kapiti populace
    An utterly dysfunctional council (duly elected), and complete and utter fuck-wittedness at central gubbamint level. I mean!!!!! watch the semi-literate little fukwit nodding in agreement on Channel 94 anytime Dear Leader speaks – I’m left wondering how parliamentary cleaners deal with male orgasms).

    At both levels of government, democratic process is the least of the problems. There’s a WINZ (region) that has a policy of pushing the indigent out of sight, out of mind (hence Pram/Featherston/etc) such that when all alternatives for the unemployed to survive are exhausted, naturally shopfitting, the bash, burglary et al takes over.

    Still, I guess Nafe can handle it all, since before respectability and political ambition kicked in, he was able to get down with the brothers, engage in the mysogenistic, be the man, and take a toke or two (or three, or four….)

    Fukn pathetic really.

    Hey where’s Gosman? Am I missing something.

  9. Ad 9

    What also annoys me amongst other things is the amount spent on procurement. You can spend whole dumptrucks of cash just getting a deal ready for sale, including: all the Resource Consents, all the Detailed Design, all the consultation etc. And then go through the contest of who is going to win this thing.

    All of which is just utter waste, and if you’re on the other side bidding for it, you can squander millions of effectively marketing budget on the odd chance that you will even get a shot at it. Which in total amounts to a colossal waste of investor money and time. This ain’t free.

    Hopefully TransportBlog will do a good review of the many roading PPP’s in Australia that have gone completely tits up, taking down the plughole billions of dollars of investors money.

    None of which is necessary.

    God do any of us remember Stephen Selwood and the NZCID running around Wellington and Auckland only early last year begging us all to do PPPs? Then Sydney Tunnel fell over, Brisbane to the Airport is about to go belly up, and the fully private facilities like Olympic dam were just erased with the stroke of a pen. PPPs are bullshit for bankers, that’s all they amount to. Maybe Key should get Stephen Selwood to mortgage his own house, and see if he’s prepared to put own savings into Transmission Gully. See if he has the courage of the convictions upon everyone else’s money.

    The state – NZTA – could do the same thing, stick up its toll gantries as in ALPURT B, form a basic toll road, and dump the idea of a PPP altogether. Jeff Dangerfield at NZTA should put up its own money, see if that makes his sack shrink.

    These days bankers like ABN Amro are so burned by PPPs they now bleat that they won’t be held to models in which the income is contingent upon the volume of traffic. They are cowards who refuse to quantify the risk they were built to quantify.

    If drivers want to pay for this flash facility, they should be prepared to pay enough toll to make the road pay for itself. That does not require a PPP. It just requires NZTA to do its job, and use its own capacity to take on debt.

    Here’s a simple thought for NZTA: dump PPPs, put out a referendum to the Wellington region: “Would you be prepared to pay $10 a time? $8? $5?” Then calculate how much that would pay for over 25 years. Then tell the answer to Wellington: you are the investors, and you decided YES/NO to this. Live with that.

    Grow some balls NZTA.

  10. erentz 10

    I’ve made a similar point about this project before. Sometime a couple of years ago it was actually estimated to cost around 80 million IIRC for the planning phase. I know I am not a civil engineer but considering how is that really possible? All it has produced this far is presumably some drilling for geotechnical surveys and engineer time to put lines on paper. That’s about 150,000 man hours in this thing somehow (assuming all hours cost about 200 per hour on avg including burden costs and equipment). Have we really had around 30 staff employed full time on this one project for the last two years?

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      In the old days the Public Works Department would have a division doing all this work, from surveying to geotechnical analysis to route and road design (fuck the private sector consultants).

      I’m guessing that it would cost $5M-$10M to get it all done in house.

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