Just over two million vehicles a month on average drive through the Waterview Connection, showing that in the two years since it opened, the twin tunnels have become a route of choice for Aucklanders traversing the city’s motorway network.
The NZ Transport Agency’s Director of Regional Relationships Steve Mutton says the 2.4km long twin tunnels and their connection to Auckland’s wider motorway network have helped make journey times more predictable and reliable and given drivers more journey choices.
“It didn’t take people long to appreciate that Waterview gives them more options for getting around safely and efficiently. They can plan to get from one side of the city to the other and to key destinations like the city centre and the airport easily and on time.”
“It’s also taken pressure off local roads, improving journey times for shorter trips and public transport.”
The twin tunnels opened on 2 July 2017 and are the deepest and longest road tunnels in New Zealand.
The tunnels were the biggest in a series of projects to create the Western Ring Route and complete the strategic motorway network. They connect SH1, SH16 and SH18 in the north and west with the CBD and SH20 and SH20A to the airport and SH1 in the south. The Waterview Connection provides a second route through Auckland, bypassing the city centre and reducing the reliance on State Highway 1 and the Auckland Harbour Bridge. The redistribution of the city’s travel demand allows the motorway network to more effectively absorb incidents such as breakdowns or crashes in peak periods.
In the 22 months to April 2019, there have been 44,565,275 vehicles through the tunnel or an average of 2,025,694 a month. Weekdays are busiest.
It’s not just the road tunnels proving popular. The Waterview project also added 3.4km of safe accessible shared path that connects with the northwestern cycleway on SH16 to the city.
Last year cycle counters registered 73,606 riders on the Waterview path. In the first 5 months of 2019 there have been 40,214 trips recorded, a 16.4% increase on the same period last year (33,579).
“Increased use of the cycle network is part of a growing active mode trend for Auckland and it’s great to see people using the community facilities, parks and cycleways created as part of the project. People walking and cycling on short trips to work, school and the shops is good for their health and the environment. Every person walking and cycling is potentially one less car sitting in traffic,” says Mr Mutton.
The Waterview Connection’s contribution to good urban design won international recognition this month at the Los Angeles Business Council Architectural Awards.
“The Tripartite Award acknowledges the Waterview Connection project was about much more than the twin 2.4km long road tunnels deep underground. It celebrates significant community amenities and landscape features above ground and the role of infrastructure in supporting good urban design.”
The Waterview Connection was delivered by an international partnership called the Well Connected Alliance, comprising the NZ Transport Agency, Fletcher Construction, McConnell Dowell, Parsons Brinkerhoff, Beca, Tonkin & Taylor and Japanese construction company Obayashi Corporation.
For more on the Waterview Connection, go to https://www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/the-western-ring-route/waterview-tunnel(external link)
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