Builders of the Transmission Gully motorway in the lower North Island have racked up nearly $26 million in fines for finishing the road late.
The 27 km road connecting Wellington and Kāpiti was supposed to open in mid-December. However, it only welcomed motorists last week.
The three-month delay has caused headaches for some eager road users, but it’s also led the builders into a pit of financial trouble.
Every day since the road was meant to be open, the builders have been fined over $250,000. The fines only stopped when the road was open.
On top of that, there is an additional $7.5 million still to be paid as part of an earlier agreement.
It means the road’s builders are in debt of roughly $33.5 million.
In an interview with the NZ Herald, builders WGP couldn’t confirm if the full fine needs to be paid.
The road has had several delays during its life, most out of the builders’ control. These include Covid-19 lockdowns, earthquakes and poor weather.
Five deadlines were missed en route to the road’s eventual completion last Thursday.
At the road’s opening, Transport Minister Michael Wood acknowledged how difficult the project has been to finish.
“Transmission Gully, quite simply, is one of the most significant and complex new roading projects ever undertaken in New Zealand,” he said.
The road’s construction went well over budget because of what Finance Minister Grant Robertson said was “a flawed” initial plan. The total cost to complete the project is estimated to be $1.25 billion, some $400 million over budget.