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NZTA asks for patience with new tunnel

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The NZ Transport Agency is reminding motorists to drive with care and patience on their evening commute through the new Victoria Park Tunnel.

“It’s great that motorists are taking the opportunity to appreciate this newest piece of motorway infrastructure, but we’re urging everyone to take care not to hold up traffic behind them,” NZTA Regional Assets Manager Steve Mutton said.

The Victoria Park Tunnel opened on Monday after the final work to connect the tunnel to the motorway network was successfully carried out over the weekend.

“When we opened on Monday morning two lanes of traffic moved from the viaduct to the tunnel with no change to capacity. The congestion experienced by many on their commute last night is largely due to curious motorists taking a look as they travel through the tunnel for the first time.”

“As with any new piece of infrastructure there is always a settling in period. We will continue to actively monitor the traffic flows as it returns to normal over the next few weeks,” says Mr Mutton.

The opening of the tunnel is the first step in the staged completion of the wider Victoria Park Tunnel project to upgrade the capacity of State Highway 1 between the Auckland Harbour Bridge and Auckland CBD. The $340m project will be the first of the Government’s seven Roads of National Significance, prioritised to support national and regional economic growth to be completed, in March next year.

Overnight closures will continue this week as the project gears up for the next phase. Work will now focus on reconfiguring the Victoria Park flyover for southbound traffic and will open in its new configuration in January 2012. 

The third and final release of new motorway capacity will be in March when the third tunnel lane and an additional northbound lane through St Marys Bay open to traffic.

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