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Digging the dirt for political reasons

gully sods
Turning the first sods. Peter Dunne (left) and Gerry Brownlee (right), watched by Hekia Parata, Dame Patsy Reddy and the Prime Minister (who was the first to dig up some dirt).

Wellington.Scoop
It was a political event, of course. The politicians today used ceremonial spades to dig up the first bits of dirt (it used to be called turning the first sod) for the construction of Transmission Gully. But this doesn’t mean that construction will start tomorrow.

The Transport Agency said the event was the “official construction start” on the motorway. Gerry Brownlee said Wellingtonians will be delighted that after nearly a century in the making, work on the long-awaited Transmission Gully road is now officially underway.

But the contractors were more realistic. They said that design work is not yet completed, and major construction won’t be starting till “spring/summer 2015,” and that’ll be dependent on the weather.

The project director said today:

“Over the coming months we will be completing detailed design. The community will also see us out in the field progressively fencing, relocating services, establishing environmental controls and setting up our site office”.

The project’s Gateway consortium released a statement with an accurate description of today’s event: they said it was to mark the Transmission Gully project contract award.

The 27 kilometre motorway will have 28 bridges and will run through eleven different geological terrains, from steep and rugged rocky outcrops through to rolling farmland.

But don’t expect any bulldozers tomorrow morning.