Minister talks Penlink

Janet Fitzgerald and Phil Twyford

Transport and urban development Minister Phil Twyford dropped into Whangaparaoa yesterday – a visit that included being pressed to get behind a four-lane Penlink.

Currently the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) is close to seeking tenders for construction of a two-lane Penlink. Hibiscus & Bays Local Board member and long time Penlink proponent, Janet Fitzgerald, says this is because it was “instructed” to do so. Auckland Transport, which was in charge of the project until Penlink became Government funded, looked at both options but eventually opted for two lanes and this version was passed on to NZTA.

Lobby group Penlink Now and the local board have been pushing for four-lanes, which they say can be done within the Government’s allocated $411 million. It will provide a separated bus and cycling lane in both directions.

Widening it may also mean more impact on the 23ha bush block, known as Archer’s Block, which is the last stand of undeveloped wilderness on the peninsula.

There appears to be no time to waste if a four-lane road and bridge is to be an option.

Penlink Now chair Stephen Lyttelton, along with Mrs Fitzgerald and local board member and Penlink supporter Julia Parfitt met Mr Twyford at The Good Home for a chat. Labour’s list MP for Rodney, Marja Lubeck, and Whangaparaoa Labour candidate Lorayne Ferguson were also at the meeting.

Key to the Penlink Now presentation was that tendering should be for a design/build process, which would bring in quotes for four lanes as well as two.

Although detailed design has not yet been done, Mrs Fitzgerald said it is likely that there will be an intersection for Penlink at Beverley Road (near the New World complex) and therefore part of Whangaparaoa Road will need to be four-laned to make it work.

The Minister said that he will ask his officials for advice and also whether they have done a detailed analysis of the costs of both options.

He also praised Mrs Fitzgerald for her 30 years of advocacy for the project, saying the build, scheduled to begin at the end of next year, is vindication of her hard work.

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