Major cost blowouts put multiple transport projects on backburner

A $6 billion cost blowout on transport projects means six of a promised 32 have been canned.

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In Auckland a major extension of the Mill Road Highway is gone. Source: 1 NEWS

The Government's blaming rising construction costs and the Covid-19 pandemic for winding back some of the projects, announced in January 2020.

The price tag at the time was around $7 billion, but after a review of the figures, the cost has gone up around $6 billion.

Stage one of the State Highway 2 upgrade between Tauranga and Ōmokoroa will go ahead, but stage two won't happen for at least a decade.

Traffic in Auckland. Source:

People in the area have long called for an upgrade to the crash-prone road.

Meanwhile, the upgrade of Mill Rd in South Auckland down towards Drury has effectively been canned, with rail stations and safety improvements and a small upgrade to the road planned. 

In Northland, plans to extend the state highway to Northport won't go ahead, although a rail line will. 

"Covid-19 has put pressure on supply chains and has increased construction costs around the world. Fully funding the new estimated costs for every New Zealand Upgrade project would have cost up to $6 billion extra," Finance Minister Grant Robertson said.

Walking, cycling and public transport were among the areas where focus will remain, including a new walking and cycling bridge over Auckland's Waitematā Harbour.

Another harbour crossing - probably a tunnel - focused on public transport is also an option, but was not part of the plans outlined today.

Work at Melling near Wellington, and Penlink, north of Auckland, are also still in the pipeline.