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Friday, August 27, 2010

Joyce to set fire to $100 million to celebrate overloaded trucks - NZ Herald, cronies delight

They are about to cause traffic anarchy when they close down the Newmarket Viaduct. Why? So that the NZTA can replace a perfectly satisfactory viaduct (built in the mid 1960s and not due to fall down anytime soon) with a new one that can take "overloaded" trucks. Why? Because the trucking industry that funds the National Party want these bigger trucks on the road to make them more money and give them an advantage over rail. It is a form of subsidisation from other road users too because of the increased degradation of the roadway caused by the trucks and all the new road works needed to support them.

The approx. $100 million left in this project to be spent on demolishing and then rebuilding the viaduct is totally unnecessary. That is $100m that could be spent starting the CBD underground rail loop. They could quit now - with one of the new spans completed - and have more lanes than they will at the end of this pointless scheme.

Even spending it on completing the SH20/SH16 motorways would be better value because that forms a bypass to the city and Newmarket so the overloaded trucks will not need to travel across that section of SH1 anyway. It is a tremendous waste. It is a result of several failings: an ineffective NZTA board of cronies, the hijacking of the Auckland transport budget by Wellington's public sector and the uncritical local politicians and media. The NZ Herald does not investigate or critique or analyse these hundreds of millions of dollars of public works - they would rather be ferreting through a few hundred dollars worth of mayoral credit card expenses, and so they just copy the press releases and echo all the hollow rhetoric from the empty minds.

So Auckland's leaders too - and Auckland media - are also to blame for pissing away opportunities and signing off on high budget, but low value, spending. They are about to make a $100 million mistake and everyone thinks it's great. They will be left with a viaduct that looks exactly the same as the old one, in almost the exact same place - but now it will have one extra lane. All $200m+ for one extra lane. It is something only a moron would think is acceptable.

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9 Comments:

At 27/8/10 4:11 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A minor point. The NM viaduct project is a long term one nearing completion, hence the closure to finish essential work. For work to start in 2008 it would have been designed years before. I understand it was needed because of the stress from existing traffic on the nearly 50 year old structure.

The heavy truck law was started in 2008 under Labour - Annette King gave it the go ahead. Joyce actually gutted the original rule to reduce infrastructure cost.

The new viaduct will allow heavy trucks only because design standards have moved on since 1965. That is, you have made a connection that just ain't there.

insider

 
At 27/8/10 4:32 pm, Blogger Tim Selwyn said...

Anon above: Yes, the weak NZTA board goes back to Labour stacking it with their cronies, incl. the Pres. of the party. I should have mentioned that. Your understanding about why the viaduct is being replaced "stress from existing traffic" is wrong. That is not the excuse the NZTA use - the capacity to take "overloaded" trucks is the reason. You will not find the estimated lifespan of the 1965 viaduct either - because it does not need to be replaced for many, many decades. It is a low priority. The only reason to up-spec it is for the sake of overloaded trucks. The connection is very obvious.

 
At 27/8/10 7:02 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All this speculation is soon to be made redundant if the supercity comes to fruition and the prevailing orthodoxy remains that public money should not pick winners.Namely the port in Auckland will be deemed less efficient than Tauranga.Then it will be divided up piecemeal for more (America's Cup) viaduct type sprawl and development on the waterfront and less reliance on throwaway junk and do it yourself kitset furniture at the warehouse for example coming in in the form of cheap imports from China.

 
At 27/8/10 7:14 pm, Anonymous Tim2 said...

It's all a bit like "insider trading" in the financial sector: illegal and frowned upon.
What's the difference when it comes down to the power of influence, lobbying and cronyism?
Joyce and that fukn old Nat queen who is the trucking industry's lobbyist whose name eludes me.

The natives are restless and it may well be that Joyce and others' retirement plans might be upset by a desire for retribution.

 
At 27/8/10 7:15 pm, Anonymous Tim2 said...

It's all a bit like "insider trading" in the financial sector: illegal and frowned upon.
What's the difference when it comes down to the power of influence, lobbying and cronyism?
Joyce and that fukn old Nat queen who is the trucking industry's lobbyist whose name eludes me.

The natives are restless and it may well be that Joyce and others' retirement plans might be upset by a desire for retribution.

 
At 27/8/10 9:29 pm, Anonymous Simon said...

Not sure where you get the idea that the current viaduct doesn't need replacing. As far as I am aware like most of Auckland's roading infrastructure it was under-built and obsolete when new. Fucked if I'd want to live under it. Still I presume you have the good oil from a structural engineer otherwise you'd just sound silly.

 
At 28/8/10 2:40 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tim you seem to be going out of your way to find a conspiracy.

NZTA wasn't even established till August 2008. The viaduct project began construction only a couple of months later but would have been signed off years before - planning started in 2002.

the change was needed due to volume and because it didn't meet currnet seismic and other standards - I suspect the impact of the then recent Kobe and LA quakes had an influence on replacement. It was almost as cheap to rebuild than refurbish

Where is the citation that big trucks is the reason for the viaduct? I think you may be confusing the intention to upgrade a bunch of other bridges on the Southern Motorway.

What you don't realise is that nearly all bridges built since 1972 is likely to be able to carry the new heavy truck loads - it's just a function of the strength standard NZ adapted from I believe British and Australian bridge standards.

But you never know, maybe the conspiracy goes back that far...

insider

 
At 28/8/10 7:33 pm, Blogger Nga said...

the old one is not earthquake proof

 
At 30/8/10 6:45 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Josh at Auckland Transport blog claims it is NZTA shifting Newmarket viaduct from capable of withstanding a 1 in 500yr earthquake to a 1 in 5000yr quake. Which kinda ignores how these quake standards keep getting raised to ensure ongoing infrastructure rebuild contracts...

It's not clear whether the new viaduct will take the 53 tonne trucks (without adversely impacting on the bridges lifespan) - wouldn't it be ironic if the new viaduct has to be rebuilt in a few years cos of a hammering from the oversize trucks. Just like the Waitemata harbour bridge.

@ insider - NZTA is just a renaming of the old Transit NZ. It's the same government road building agfency that's been round for decades.

Second, of course Transit/NZTA plan these projects over years/decades. They create layers of selfjustifying reports, written by revolving door experts who shuffle between NZTA and private consultancies. Once a big enough layer of prior reports approving the idea 'in principle' exist, it becomes nearly inevitable the road gets built.

@ Simon - no-one lives under Newmarket viaduct - the pillar sites are owned by NZTA, and there are only a couple of commercial warehouses/showrooms under the fringe. Little chance of harm if the bridge dropped.

 

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