An overseas group wants to make an early start to build the $400 million Penlink road north of Auckland and pay for it through tolls.
Auckland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Michael Barnett said an unsolicited bid by an international group to establish a joint venture with a local construction company to build Penlink as a BOOT – Build, Own, Operate, Transfer – has been lodged with the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA).
The 7km Penlink road is consented to run between the Northern motorway at Redvale and the heart of the Whangaparaoa Peninsula, reducing by an estimated 50,000 the nearly 130,000 vehicles a day that travel through the heavily congested Silverdale business area.
The offer is to provide the majority of the estimated $400m needed to build a four-lane tolled Penlink road, not current plans for a two-lane road.
The proposal for the long-awaited project includes a bridge over the Weiti River, busway, cycleway and possibly park-and-ride - recovering all revenue on an extended concession and transferring back to Auckland Council for free at the end of the concession.
At the heart of the bid is establishing a pathway for the joint venture to carry the financial risk associated with the design, build, ownership and maintenance of the toll road that avoids impact on Auckland Council's tight balance sheet, Barnett said.
He said it has potential to bring forward by 10 years the completion of Penlink from the 2025-28 start date currently envisaged by NZTA and Auckland Council.
"That will be hugely attractive to North Shore's business and residential communities who are having to put up with traffic queues stretching up to 10km most mornings," said Barnett.
The Chamber's Penlink campaign arose from a request by the Hibiscus and Bays Local Board and business community in 2016, following more than a decade of sitting on Auckland plans consented, 'ready to go' but unfunded.
Thousands of responses have been made to the Chamber's Penlink website and numerous inquiries made by potential investors.
The Herald is seeking comment from NZTA.