The TVNZ website is reporting that a 2008 study into the Puhoi-Wellsford project, before it became a “Road of National Significance”, highlighted that it was an expensive and rather unnecessary project – at least in the immediate future. Here’s a snippet of the story:
Four years ago a roading consultancy group now working on the upgrade wrote: “The scope for substantial economic growth…is limited.”…
…A report obtained by ONE News shows the roading consultancy firm now planning the upgrade originally thought it would have little economic benefit.
In 2008 Sinclair Knight Merz wrote that the project would “have costs exceeding benefits”, adding “the scope for substantial economic growth…is limited in the region.
The analysis showing that the road’s potential to generate wider economic benefits is very limited is perhaps the most damning element of the report, as the project’s ‘economic regeneration’ impact is often cited as being its saving grace.
The fact that SKM came back a year later to say that the project was now well worth doing within 10 years, contrary to their earlier advice, is quite interesting and potentially relevant to Stu’s recent post about the role of transport consultancies.