Water­view Con­nec­tion in fi­nal chap­ter

Central Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - MARY FITZGER­ALD

One of New Zealand’s largest ever in­fra­struc­ture projects is near­ing com­ple­tion, with key stages open­ing last week and oth­ers get­ting their fin­ish­ing touches.

The Water­view Con­nec­tion is on sched­ule to open by April next year and is a key com­po­nent of the Western Ring Route, a 48 kilo­me­tre mo­tor­way be­tween Manukau in the south and Al­bany in the north of Auck­land.

The SH16 Cause­way and the Water­view Re­serve BMX track and skate-park opened last week and construction of the Water­view tun­nel ven­ti­la­tion stack is near­ing com­ple­tion.

Trans­port Min­is­ter Si­mon Bridges of­fi­cially opened the SH16 Cause­way last Wed­nes­day.

‘‘This cause­way com­ple­tion is ex­cit­ing be­cause it moves us a step closer to hav­ing the Water­view pro­ject com­pleted,’’ Bridges says.

The con­nec­tion is con­sid­ered to be one of New Zealand’s most im­por­tant in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ments.

Com­plet­ing a mo­tor­way ring route around the city, the pro­ject will cre­ate a di­rect mo­tor­way link be­tween the cen­tral busi­ness district and Auck­land In­ter­na­tional Air­port.

The pro­ject in­cludes recre­ational fa­cil­i­ties, up­graded parks and im­proved cy­cling and walk­ing con­nec­tions.

The five lane SH16 Cause­way is a cru­cial build­ing block in the Western Ring Route, pro­vid­ing in­creased traf­fic ca­pac­ity and im­proved on and off ramp ac­cess.

The BMX track and skate park de­vel­op­ment are part of the Water­view Re­serve re­de­velop- ment and in­clude fea­tures for both novice and ex­pe­ri­enced skate­board­ers and BMX rid­ers.

New Zealand Trans­port Agency Auck­land and North­land re­gional di­rec­tor Ernst Zoll­ner says the park de­vel­op­ment off­sets the im­pact construction work has on sur­round­ing neigh­bour­hoods.

A tall ven­ti­la­tion stack is tak­ing shape along­side Great North Road at the pro­ject’s north­ern end.

When the Water­view Con­nec­tion opens, the gi­ant ar­chi­tec­turally de­signed, egg-shaped stack will re­move ex­haust emis­sions from in­side the tun­nels.

NZTA high­ways man­ager Brett Glid­don says a pro­ject is un­der­way to test all of the in­stalled tun­nel equip­ment to en­sure safe op­er­a­tion when the tun­nel opens.

The Western Ring Route is sched­uled to of­fi­cially open in 2017.

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