The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) has selected a consortium for carrying out the $406m Vic Park Tunnel project in Auckland that will provide faster, easier and less expensive road travel.

The consortium V-Formation includes Fletcher Construction, Beca Engineering, Higgins Contractors and Australian consultancy Parsons Brinckerhoff.

The 2.2km long project includes construction of a 440m tunnel beneath Victoria Park that will carry three lanes of northbound traffic, and expansion of the current viaduct to four lanes southbound.

It also includes the expansion of St Mary’s Bay to five lanes in each direction, a new southbound bus shoulder lane and provision of northbound bus priority.

The project, which is part of NZTA’s Central Motorway Junction (CMJ) improvements, will eliminate a major chokepoint at one of the busiest stretches of the motorway network.

It will also eliminate the current northbound gridlock in the afternoon peak period at the viaduct.

NZTA acting regional director for Auckland and Northland Tommy Parker said that the project will provide a boost for public transport in the seaside city by unlocking the full benefits of the Northern Busway, removing the current pinch point at St Mary’s Bay.

The preconstruction work will start in August 2009, while the construction is scheduled to begin in November 2009.