Transit Responds To Community With Tunnel Option
Transit Responds To Community With Tunnel Option For Waterview Connection
Transit New Zealand said today it will seek community feedback on a proposed tunnel for Auckland's Waterview Connection project. The 3.2 kilometre-long tunnel is Transit's preferred option to link the Southern, Southwestern and Northwestern motorways.
The $1.89 billion project (total cost in 2015 dollars) would involve twin two-lane tunnels bored 20 to 40 metres [seven to 13 storeys] below the suburbs of Mt Albert and Avondale to connect SH20 at Mt Roskill with the Northwestern Motorway [SH16].
"Transit has been consulting local communities since 2000, and the preference for the tunnel was a response to requests from people to have more of the project underground," said Clive Fuhr, Transit's principal project manager for the Waterview Connection.
Transit's board has agreed a tunnel was not only possible, but also the best solution to avoid potentially significant social and environmental upheaval.
"Avondale and Mt Albert are established suburbs without land set aside for a motorway. Building a surface road through them would have meant extraordinary disruption which a tunnel largely avoids," said Mr Fuhr.
"If a tunnel is eventually confirmed, then about 160 residential properties would be required for the project compared to about 500 for a surface option. Transit will keep affected residents fully informed about the project," he said.
The Waterview Connection involves building northbound and southbound two-lane tunnels to join SH20 at Maioro Street, and SH16 at Waterview by Great North Road.
The project will complete the Western Ring Route [WRR] and provide Auckland with an alternative north-south motorway by reducing reliance on the southern motorway [SH1] and the Auckland Harbour Bridge.
Once completed, the Waterview Connection would provide more predictable travel times, link major residential and commercial areas, particularly in the west, and boost local economies.
"The Waterview Connection is a strategic part of the picture to deliver world class road rail and public transport networks for Auckland," Mr Fuhr said.
"It will help keep traffic off residential roads, provide opportunities to upgrade public transport links, and has been designed with a future rail link between Avondale and Onehunga in mind."
Mr Fuhr said the next step was to take Transit's tunnel preference back to the community, local councils, transport agencies and others with an interest in the project to get their comments on the proposal. Affected property owners and residents are being advised immediately, and a community engagement process that includes public open and information days will start on 18th February.