The new $ 69 million Puhinui Station interchange is scheduled to open in Papatoetoe on July 26.
But according to one of the leaders of the Auckland Transport-led project, it has been a challenge, battling Covid-19 lockdowns and international supply chain issues, to complete it in time for this month’s big unveiling. -this.
The interchange is expected to provide a vital link between the airport and the rest of the city, and allow people to move between the services of the new joint bus and rail station.
Modernization work on the station began in 2019 and it was one of four ready-to-go transport projects that received government funding last year.
It was originally slated to cost $ 58.8 million, but according to Auckland Transport (AT) the price of the project has increased due to rising overhead costs and the impact of Covid-19 on international supply chains.
The station was designed by Aurecon and Jasmax and built by McConnell Dowell and Built Environs.
AT specialist project leader Adrian Price said the project had encountered challenges and the pandemic had delayed its completion by at least 10 weeks.
He said work on the Papatoetoe station was halted in March last year when the country entered an Alert Level 4 lockdown.
Price said after a one-month hiatus, work resumed in late April under Alert Level 3 restrictions.
“I think McConnell Dowell did a great job in handling the situation,” he said. “But it got a bit difficult because it limited the number of people we could have on site at any one time.”
Price said that as a result, the company has increased the number of night and weekend shifts to make up for lost time.
“I don’t think these projects are ever easy,” he said. “But with Covid-19, it took things to another level. “
Price said the project required a lot of additional contingency planning to find other suppliers and sources of materials in case something went wrong.
The elevators, escalators and street lights at the station were all sourced from China, while the interior roof cladding was sourced from Germany and structural steel from Australia.
When asked if he felt a sense of accomplishment now that the project was almost complete, he replied that it was not yet finished.
“I’ll be relieved after July 26,” Price said.
But not everyone is so wary.
In a statement, AT chief executive Shane Ellison said he was excited about the station’s opening and that it was an important project for the region.
“Puhinui Station will be a game-changer by creating easy, affordable and reliable connections between Auckland Airport and the wider Tāmaki Makaurau. “
The public will be able to get a first glimpse of the new station between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on July 24, before its official opening on July 26.
AT unveiled a fleet of electric buses in January for its new AirportLink service. The vehicles are operated by Go Bus and are designed to go from Manukau Bus Station to Puhinui Station Interchange and Auckland Airport and vice versa.
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