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Better travel times and more reliable journeys since Waterview Tunnel opened


New figures show reduced travel times and more reliable journeys across Auckland since the Waterview Connection opened to traffic.

The NZ Transport Agency says more than 6 and a half million vehicles have travelled through the twin tunnels in the three and a half months since July 2, with more than 400,000 trips each week.

Road users are continuing to benefit from faster and more consistent and reliable travel times says the Transport Agency’s System Design Manager, Brett Gliddon.

“People now have a choice between State Highway 1 and the Western Ring Route and that’s helping to rebalance the city’s travel demands and is making both the motorway system and local roads more efficient.”

“The Waterview Connection was built to create extra motorway capacity and resilience. Prior to the Waterview Tunnel opening average times recorded on both the city’s motorway system and key local routes varied widely. Journey times are now generally faster and more predictable, and we know that certainty about how long it’s going to take you to get somewhere makes a big difference to people’s lives.”

The additional route means that demand is now spread more evenly across more of the motorway system. The redistribution of demand allows the motorway system to absorb incidents such as breakdowns or crashes during busy periods, which means the impact of these incidents is reduced and travel patters return to normal faster than previously.

“Waterview has been a game changer but we’re also continuing to work on Auckland’s other key corridors and building a new transport system to cater for the city’s population growth.”

“It’s hoped construction will start next year on the Northern Corridor Improvements. By improving the connection between SH18 and State Highway 1 we will open up access to the Western Ring Route to more people. This will also provide more transport choices by extending the Northern Busway to Albany.”

“We’re also working with Auckland Transport to plan new roads, public transport and walking and cycling corridors to serve growth areas in the north, south and west of the city. The development of a Rapid Transit Network will help move larger numbers of people along both existing and new corridors.”

“The Waterview Connection was not designed to remove congestion but is a huge step towards completing Auckland’s strategic transport system, so that Auckland is a city where people have options about how they get around, and certainty about how long it will take.”

  • Prior to the Waterview Connection opening journeys from the Airport to the CBD in the afternoon peak would take between 35 and 44 minutes via Manukau Rd and Gillies Ave, now via Waterview Tunnel they take 25 minutes and via the Manukau/Gillies route they are consistently 33 minutes.
  • Travel to the airport from the CBD in the morning averaged between 24-32 minutes, via Waterview this journey now takes 24 minutes and via the Manukau/Gillies route is 27 minutes.
  • There are similar benefits on State Highway 1 between Papakura and the city. In the morning peak the journey could take anyway between 46 and 70 minutes. Journeys are now taking and average of 49 minutes.
  • In the afternoon between the CBD and Papakura it used to take between 38 and 55 minutes while it’s now consistently taking an average of 47 minutes.
  • A journey between Westgate and the city on State Highway 16 in the morning used to take between 21 and 32 minutes, the average is now 20 minutes.