In­side NZ’s long­est road tun­nel


The sub­ter­ranean link in Auck­land’s $2.4 bil­lion Western Ring Route - a stream­lined skirt­ing of the Waitem­ata Har­bour - is phys­i­cally com­plete.

The 2.4km Water­view Con­nec­tion is New Zealand’s long­est road tun­nel and has been decked out with 140,000 litres of paint and il­lu­mi­nated by 4000 light­bulbs.

Its sprin­kler sys­tem can re­li­ably de­liver a 270 litre per sec­ond del­uge, in case of fire.

But driv­ers ea­ger for an al­ter­na­tive to clogged SH1 must wait un­til April next year be­fore go­ing through the coun­try’s largest ever road­ing project.

Link­ing State High­ways 20 and 16, the pair of tun­nels will help con­nect south Auck­land with the North Shore as part of a 48km ring route to avoid the CBD.

Auck­land high­way man­ager Brett Glid­don said, at a me­dia open day on Wed­nes­day, all that was left to do was a thor­ough test­ing of each piece of equip­ment that played a part in the tun­nel’s smooth run­ning.

Glib­bon said the $1.4 bil­lion tun­nels will ‘‘def­i­nitely’’ see the north­west­ern and south­west­ern get busier, but that driv­ers al­ready frus­trated by con­ges­tion on those routes shouldn’t worry.

In fact, their com­ple­tion is what many of Auck­land’s high- way widen­ing projects have been gear­ing up for.

‘‘We’re widen­ing the high­ways to ac­com­mo­date the in­creased traf­fic,’’ Glib­bon said.

He said the ring route would be an eco­nomic boon, through ‘‘adding a whole heap more ca­pac­ity to the Auck­land road­ing net­work’’.

‘‘It’’s a route for heavy ve­hi­cles to avoid mo­tor­way junc­tions and the Har­bour Bridge when head­ing from North­land down to the Waikato,’’ he said.

‘‘Also, peo­ple land­ing at Auck­land Air­port will be able to travel by mo­tor­way straight into the CBD.’’

When the tun­nels open, driv­ers will see a strate­gi­cally daubed two-tone in­te­rior; mag­no­lia be­low and black above.

Glib­bon said that the mag­no­lia colour was spe­cially de­signed for tun­nels to helps driv­ers’ eyes ad­just to the light. The black roof would de­ter ris­ing eyes get­ting dis­tracted by ma­chin­ery, he ex­plained.

The curved tun­nels will each con­tain three lanes of traf­fic and sit on a five per cent gra­di­ent; the road goes round a bend and up a slope as it nears the Great North Road in­ter­change.


The new tun­nels will cre­ate a di­rect mo­tor­way route from Auck­land air­port to cen­tral Auck­land.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.