At Last – Light at End of Waterview Tunnel
At Last – Light at End of Waterview Tunnel!!
Auckland has been waiting 45 years for a modern motorway network with options.
Completion of the Waterview section of the Western Ring Route will be almost the last major link needed to give Auckland the semblance of a modern transport system befitting New Zealand’s only city of international scale.
It is a smart move by the NZ Transport Agency to undertake a construction procurement strategy for the 4.5km Waterview section in parallel with the consent process.
With Auckland’s traffic volumes continuing to increase by 2-3% annually and construction of other Western Ring Route projects in Manukau (SH20) and Upper Harbour (SH18) proceeding at a fast pace, organising the project to be completed as fast as possible and with the greatest potential to save money makes huge sense, said Auckland Business Forum Chairman, Michael Barnett.
“Getting a construction start next year to enable the completion goal of 2015 for Waterview – the last link in the western bypass - should be kept firmly in mind.”
Waterview’s completion will not only remove the considerable disruptive regional traffic from Mt Albert’s local roads, but contribute to improving Auckland’s freight and bus services.
Nearly 50 years after the vision of a region-wide bus service was first proposed, Auckland will have a roading system that allows efficient bus services connecting north and west Auckland with south and east Auckland.
With completion of the Western route now firmly in sight, there is increased importance for NZTA and the new Auckland Transport Agency to keep its foot to the floor to progress other major projects needed to give Auckland a modern co-ordinated network.
Top of the list has to be the last of the projects on the original road network plan unveiled in the 1960s, the SH1-20 East-West corridor linking the southern and western motorways between East Tamaki and Onehunga.
Various investigations from the 1960s have reconfirmed the need for the link, the latest showing that if not completed by 2020, traffic in the area will be reduced to a crawl throughout most working days. Freight traffic volumes on local roads along the route are higher than on most state highways across New Zealand.