Water­view tun­nel fan doc­u­ments build

Central Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - JACK­SON THOMAS

An Auck­land woman has spent nearly ev­ery­day over the past four years doc­u­ment­ing the con­struc­tion of New Zealand’s most ex­pen­sive in­fras­truc­ture project, ‘‘rain, hail or shine’’.

Auck­land’s $1.4 bil­lion Wa­ter Con­nec­tion tun­nel is now open af­ter con­struc­tion be­gan in Jan­uary 2012. The tun­nel and as­so­ci­ated ring road con­nect Auck­land’s north­west­ern and south­west­ern mo­tor­ways. They were the fi­nal links in the 48km Western Ring Route, which is ex­pected to re­duce in­ner-city traf­fic.

Smith first be­came en­am­oured with the project in Jan­uary of 2013 af­ter see­ing the be­gin­nings of the new mo­tor­way while walk­ing the Richard­son Rd foot­bridge. The Lyn­field res­i­dent said she raced home, grabbed her cam­era and has ‘‘not stopped shoot­ing since’’. Smith now has more than 200,000 im­ages on file.

‘‘When I first be­gan tak­ing pho­tos at the site, I had a gen­eral un­der­stand­ing of how the mo­tor­ways would link, but I didn’t grasp the mag­ni­tude of the work and ma­chin­ery in­volved,’’ she said.

‘‘I be­came ob­sessed. I would come rain, hail or shine, of­ten seven days a week.’’

On June 18, Smith was among the 10,000 Auck­lan­ders who walked through the Water­view tun­nel at the of­fi­cial open day. Af­ter four years of ad­mir­ing from afar, Smith said the walk through was both an eye open­ing and emo­tional ex­pe­ri­ence.

‘‘Just to be there, tak­ing all of the sights and sounds. It was truly in­cred­i­ble,’’ she said. ‘‘My doc­u­men­ta­tion has been so ex­ten­sive that it’s very ex­cit­ing for me to be able to see things up close in­stead of zoomed-in through a cam­era lens.’’

NZTA tun­nel for her, to help her see progress up close and it’s great to know she’s recorded the devel­op­ment of the area over the past few years to share.’’

Smith said she never set out to cap­ture the mon­u­men­tal project, but was grate­ful to have had site in­duc­tions and su­per­vised vis­its.

JACK­SON THOMAS/FAIR­FAX NZ

The Richard­son Rd foot­bridge has been a favourite van­tage point for Dianne Smith over the past four years.

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