Road maggots rejoice! The Skypath is coming…oh wait

A few short months ago the road maggots were rejoicing that they had hoodwinked the dopey councillors at Auckland Council into funding and building their pipe dream…a cycleway over the decrepit and rooted Harbour Bridge.

Now the chickens of a dopey and flawed project plan are coming home to roost.

The major construction partner for the $34 million SkyPath pedestrian bridge over Auckland harbour has pulled out, due to the complexity of the project.

Downer Group New Zealand has left a public-private partnership (PPP) with Auckland Council and the SkyPath Trust, because it no longer agrees with the fixed price set for the construction work in July 2016.

SkyPath Trust director Bevan Woodward said negotiations are under way to either alter the PPP, so Downer can stay involved, or find an entirely new builder.  

“Downer certainly said that SkyPath is a complex project, so they weren’t comfortable doing it on a fixed price because they are working on an old bridge,” Woodward said.

“You’d always get a few surprises, most of them unwelcome, when you’re renovating something that’s a little bit old.

“If Downer is involved they would be the builder but it would be under slightly different terms than what was proposed by the PPP, which is a financial model and requires the builder to do it for a fixed price.”

What that means is that the job is far more complex than planned, and experts like Downer say it can’t work…for them…or anyone else. But note that there are now talks of altering the PPP…in other words the project is now about to get a whole lot more expensive. This always happens with marginal projects like this…and the politicians don’t care, it’s not their money.

Woodward said there had been no financial cost for Downer pulling out as the SkyPath construction partner.

“In many respects, it’s been valuable their [Downer’s] involvement, because they’ve checked the feasibility of the design work and reviewed the whole project. They’ve done that at their own cost, so there’s no cost to the SkyPath project itself,” Woodward said.

Bludging off council AND the construction company. Nice one, these road maggots are ever on the bludge.

Auckland councillor for the North Shore ward Chris Darby said the competitiveness of the Auckland construction market has seen Downer drawn to more lucrative projects.

“Downer were going to be a construction partner. They’ve backed out. They’ve been in the mix for a while but they’ve seen better pickings on other projects around Auckland,” Darby said.

“Auckland is very busy with projects; there are more profitable projects elsewhere. This is not a straightforward project, in terms of the complexity of it, even though a lot of issues have been resolved.

“This is a showpiece project and whoever’s name is on that come opening day will get a lot of exposure. They know about that, and the incoming contractor will know about that as well.”

What hogwash. Does anyone remember who built the harbour bridge? Or the Sky Tower? Or any other piece of infrastructure? Of course not. No one except politicians builds anything for the bronze plaque on the foundations. Downer and any other construction company build things to make money, and Downer have looked at this dopey project and worked out that the plans and costings are so flawed they can’t make any money out of it.

Another of Len’s hospital passes.

 

-Fairfax

 

 


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