NZTA opens Waterview tunnel to traffic in Auckland
The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) has opened the Waterview Connection tunnel to the public that provides new connectivity between Auckland's northwestern and southwestern motorways.
The NZ$1.4bn ($1.01bn) tunnel was opened to the general traffic after five years of construction.
The Waterview Connection is the final link in the Western Ring Route, which is reported to be one of the government’s roads of national significance to support growth and development.
The Western Ring Route covers a distance of 48km and offers more transport option to the commuters as it includes separate bus lanes, walking and cycling connections in order to create an efficient link to Auckland Airport.
Though the Western Ring Route has not been designed to address congestion during the peak hours, it would provide a better balance of traffic flows across the road network by minimising car movement on the local roads.
Auckland Highway Manager Brett Gliddon said: “When it first opens motorists should expect the tunnel to be very busy because we know many people are keen to experience driving it for the first time.
“The Waterview Connection will be a key part of the Auckland transport system for a long time now and there’ll be plenty of opportunity for everyone to use it.
“We will be monitoring traffic flows carefully over the next few months and we’re asking people to bear with us while everyone gets used to the new route and driving conditions. Everyone can play their part by planning their journeys before they set out.”
Gliddon further explained that the Waterview Connection is expected to change the way people and freight move around Auckland and the rest of the country, and will serve as an alternative route that bypasses the city centre.
The Waterview Connection was completed by an alliance between government and private companies, which includes NZTA, Fletcher Construction, McConnell Dowell, WSP, Beca Infrastructure, Tonkin+Taylor and Obayashi.
Auckland-based Wilson Tunnelling and Spanish tunnel control specialists SICE have served as sub-alliance partners for this project.
Image: NZTA opens Waterview Connection tunnel to the public in Auckland. Photo: courtesy of NZ Transport Agency.