An Arup-Aurecon Alliance has been selected as the preferred bidder for the Auckland Light Rail project in New Zealand.

The project is said to be the next stage in the city’s expanding rapid transit network.

The alliance will engage in the planning and designing of the 24km light rail network, half of which will be an underground network.

According to Arup, the project is the next step in the development of a modern and multi-modal transport system in Auckland.

Auckland Light Rail project director Tommy Parker said: “Connecting people to work and study at job centres in the city and at Auckland Airport, light rail will halve travel times between the central city and most destinations on its route.

“It will also be an important catalyst for urban regeneration, facilitating the development of new homes and businesses along the route.”

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The alliance will soon begin work on the next crucial planning phase for the expansion of the rapid transit system in Auckland.

The project will coordinate with communities throughout this and next year before making final decisions.

The Arup-Aurecon Alliance has been chosen following a competitive tender process, which involved both international and New Zealand-based companies.

Parker further noted: “The ALR alliance will work on a final route for light rail and proposed locations of up to 18 stations.

“It will also develop light rail’s final Corridor Business Case, building on the Indicative Business Case developed by the Auckland Light Rail Establishment Unit, as well as look at how the system will be built and prepare the consents needed for construction.”