The NZ Transport Agency says completion of Auckland's Western Ring Route marks a significant milestone tonight (Sunday 30 September) with the start of enabling works at Waterview at the northern end of the Waterview Connection project.
There will be changes overnight to one of west Auckland’s key arterial routes through the Waterview area when the lanes on the Great North Road are narrowed slightly and realigned.
The NZTA’s State Highways Manager for Auckland and Northland, Tommy Parker, says all lanes in both directions on the Great North Road will remain open throughout the Waterview Connection project, but people should drive with caution and now be prepared for slight delays at peak times.
“Construction activity in Waterview will also affect local pedestrian access, and we are asking drivers to respect the speed limit and be extra vigilant when passing through the Waterview community,” Mr Parker says.
The changes to the Great North Road are one part of the enabling works in Waterview by the NZTA’s project delivery partners for the Waterview Connection, the Well-Connected Alliance. During the next few months, the enabling works will include providing more park space to offset the temporary loss of land required by the project team on the existing Waterview Reserve, the staged removal of 96 NZTA-owned properties in north Waterview, relocating services and the construction of noise walls.
When completed, construction will start in the New Year on the project’s northern tunnel portal.
“This is an important step for the project, and we ask for the community’s continued support and patience as we work to complete this project as quickly as we can,” Mr Parker says.
The $1.4b Waterview Connection is New Zealand’s biggest and most complex roading project, and includes twin 2.4km-long three-lane tunnels.
The project is planned to finish in 2016 and complete the key link in the Western Ring Route, identified by the Government as a road of national significance to contribute to New Zealand’s economic growth and prosperity. It will connect the Southwestern (State Highway 20) and Northwestern (SH16) motorways - a 48 kilometre motorway alternative for commercial transport operators, businesses, commuters and tourists that will ease pressure on SH1 and the Auckland Harbour Bridge.
As enabling works gear up at Waterview, activity is well advanced at the southern entrance to the tunnel. The project team has been excavating layers of volcanic rock through a series of controlled blasting.
A trench 30 metres deep is being excavated to accommodate the arrival next July of the project’s tunnel boring machine. The 14 metre diameter machine, designed in Germany and being built in China, will take a year to complete its 2.4 kilometre-long journey to Waterview where it will be turned around to burrow its way back south and complete the twin tunnels.
“The enabling works at Waterview are important preparations to ensure that we can get the most efficient and smartest use from this machine as is possible, and that will have dividends for both those people neighbouring the project and the wider Auckland community.” Mr Parker says.