Waterview Connection in final chapter
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.