Regional council officials have been left to work on the basis that Transmission Gully will be opening in 10 days' time, with no word from the transport agency to say otherwise.
This is despite both Waka Kotahi NZTA and Transport Minister Michael Wood publicly saying they expected the recent Covid-19 lockdown would affect the road's scheduled opening.
But Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) chairman Daran Ponter said nobody has officially made a call on whether September 27 is a goer, nor given any indication of what plan B looks like.
"And the answer to that question about the date lies between what must be some fractious negotiation between NZTA Waka Kotahi and the road builder", he told the Herald.
The troubled four-lane motorway is being built through a public-private partnership (PPP), the Wellington Gateway Partnership (WGP), with CPB Contractors and HEB Construction subcontracted to carry out the design and construction.
GWRC acts as the regulator and is dealing with a number of outstanding resource consents, which need to be signed off for the road to legally open.
Environment management group general manager Al Cross said at a committee meeting today the council has not received any formal notification from Waka Kotahi to move the opening date.
"I think it's fair to say we are expecting to see something, but we haven't seen anything yet."
Cross said Waka Kotahi's call for the council to continue working on the consents was also an acknowledgement of the large body of work involved.
There was already doubt the troubled $1.25 billion road would be finished in time before the Delta outbreak.
A council report from August said there was a risk the 44 environmental tasks in need of sign-off would not be sorted out in time, leading Ponter to say he was nervous.
Council officials said today retrospective consenting remained the "biggest red flag" for road opening.
As the council is yet to even receive an application for some of these consents, which can be complex, officials consider it "entirely unrealistic" they'll be processed by September 27 anyway.
Ponter said council officials could only work with the date they had been given.
"They haven't been advised of a new date so for all intents and purposes they are working to the idea that the road builder will complete the resource consents they're required to deliver on by the 27th.
"Nobody's actually made a call on whether it actually is the 27th of September or whether it's some date in the future."
The builder was going to be liable for $250,000-a-day in damages if the road didn't open on time.
Furthermore, $7.5 million of a $145.5m settlement covering the cost impacts of Covid-19 was not going to be paid out if the road was late.
But alert levels 3 and 4 are considered a force majeure event. This relieves an affected party from contractual obligations because of an event outside of its control.
A Waka Kotahi spokesperson said it was expected the recent lockdown and restrictions would have an impact on the opening date for Transmission Gully, however it was too early to say exactly what that impact is.
"Waka Kotahi is continuing to work closely with Wellington Gateway Partnership and the builder of Transmission Gully to understand the full impacts. We will update our partners and the community when we can. Until then, we will not be providing any further comment."
Transmission Gully project spokeswoman Natasha Utting said: "We don't have an update yet on the opening date for Transmission Gully, and the project won't be providing further comment at this time."