Mt Al­bert streets are ‘qui­eter than ever’, lo­cals say

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

The pre­vi­ously con­gested Auck­land sub­urb of Mt Al­bert has be­come a ghost town since the Water­view tun­nel opened.

Af­ter five years of con­struc­tion and de­lays, Auck­land’s $1.4 bil­lion tun­nel of­fi­cially opened to traf­fic on Sun­day.

NZTA high­ways man­ager Brett Glid­don said in June that the tun­nel would ben­e­fit the lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties of Mt Al­bert, Mt Roskill and Mt Eden by re­duc­ing traf­fic on lo­cal roads. And Mt Al­bert’s Shalini Prasad said it had done just that.

‘‘It’s amaz­ing. Usu­ally Richard­son Rd is backed up all the way from the uni­ver­sity (Unitec) to the traf­fic lights at Maioro street in the morn­ings, now it is com­pletely empty,’’ she said.

From 8am to 9.30am, Prasad said the 2 kilo­me­tre stretch of Richard­son Rd be­tween Car­ring­ton Rd and Maioro St was usu­ally ‘‘bumper-to-bumper’’ traf­fic. Prior to the tun­nel open­ing, Auck­land Trans­port said the week­day av­er­age num­ber of cars trav­el­ling down Car­ring­ton Rd was about 25,000.

Prasad runs the Harl­ston Su­perette on Richard­son Rd and said the lack of morn­ing traf­fic was had been great for busi­ness as well.

‘‘Now that peo­ple aren’t sit­ting in queues all morn­ing, they ac­tu­ally have time to stop and come into the dairy so it has been great for us.’’

Ali Ash­man lives on Richard­son Rd and said she had never seen Mt Al­bert this quiet.

‘‘Be­fore the tun­nel opened, it could some­times take five min­utes just to turn left out of my drive­way, and turn­ing right was al­most im­pos­si­ble at rush hour in the morn­ings. This is def­i­nitely the qui­etest we’ve ever seen it,’’ Ash­man said.

Lo­cal schools are also see­ing the ben­e­fits of less con­gested roads. Glad­stone Pri­mary School prin­ci­pal Dave Shad­bolt said the open­ing had been pos­i­tive for the school, es­pe­cially staff.

‘‘The traf­fic on Car­ring­ton Rd has gone from nose to tail in the morn­ing to lit­er­ally three or four cars at the lights up from the school. Ev­ery­one in Mt Al­bert is talk­ing about the time they are sav­ing,’’ Shad­bolt said.

How­ever, Shad­bolt said the real test would be how traf­fic copes when uni­ver­sity se­mes­ter two re­sumes on July 24.

‘‘Be­fore the tun­nel opened, it could some­times take five min­utes just to turn left out of my drive­way’’

JACKSON THOMAS/STUFF

Shalini Prasad says busi­ness has im­proved since the Water­view tun­nel opened.

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