Cost blowout: Auckland City Rail Link asks for extra $1b

Wed, Mar 15

The company behind Auckland's City Rail Link (CRL) project has requested an extra $1.074 billion of funding.

That's on top of the previously estimated total cost of $4.419 billion, meaning the new total is $5.493 billion.

CRL Limited seeks the funding for the project from its two sponsors, the Crown and Auckland Council.

"In addition to the cost increase, the council has also been informed that construction of the stations and supporting rail infrastructure is now likely to be completed by the Link Alliance in November 2025," Auckland Council said in a statement this morning.

"KiwiRail and Auckland Transport will then carry out the additional work required to open the CRL to its first passengers.

"The cost increase and delay have been primarily driven by the Covid-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns, which has resulted in staffing, supply chain and technical-related challenges associated with a project of this scale and complexity, and inflation in construction costs," the council added.

Auckland Council will consider its share of the request and the budget implications of the request at a meeting later this month.

CRL Limited chief executive Sean Sweeney said: "People need to remember that in Auckland we endured two level four lockdowns, a further 280 days of restricted working conditions (Covid traffic light system) and we lost 3.2 million hours through illness among staff, with 800-plus workers infected.

"The request for extra funding has not and will not delay continuing work on the project, which is progressing well.

"Together with our contractors Link Alliance, we have got through Covid and surmounted its impacts and are now well advanced in our work to build New Zealand’s first underground metro rail network."

'So much our bodies can take' - affected business owner

Shobhana Ranchhodji.

Shobhana Ranchhodji, who owns Roma Blooms Florist on Albert St, was moved to tears discussing the extension.

"I am not young. You know, there is so much our bodies can take and for another year... It's a lot, it's a lot."

Ranchhodji said the construction has impacted her business "severely".

"Each and every one of us that are in the construction zone, the noise that we've endured, the constant moving, our customers not being able to get to us, the loading zones, there's been so many hurdles just to open our front door."

Ranchhodji wouldn't have stayed in the area if she'd known how long the project would take, she added.

"I don't think any business had any idea of what was to come our way and nor were we informed of what may come our way."

New completion date 'welcome' - AT and KiwiRail

Auckland Transport and KiwiRail "welcome the release of a revised date for the completion of the CRL works".

"This plan allows time for AT, Auckland One Rail (AOR) and KiwiRail to complete critical testing of the new systems before trains can operate, including emergency and evacuation protocols, driver training, signalling and other important systems needed to operate CRL safely," a joint statement read.

"We will be able to confirm the dates for CRL operations once this programme is complete."


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