Tunnel cuts travel times
After years of construction and months of delays, the Waterview Tunnel has been open now for just shy of a fortnight.
But has it made any difference? New Zealand Transport Agency’s highway manager Brett Gliddon thinks so. The tunnel was opened just before 1am on July 2. Since its first Monday, there have been around 63,000 vehicles through the tunnel each day. In the first few days, NZTA released figures which showed drastic cuts to the commute times for long suffering Auckland drivers. There was a 20-minute saving for those using the tunnel to travel from the CBD to the airport at 8am on the first Monday.
Gliddon said while it’s early days yet, there appears to have been a redistribution of traffic demand from SH1 to SH20 and SH16 - meaning good news for commuters on those routes. While NZTA was still collecting data, anecdotal evidence has shown reduced travel times on commuters travel to and from the airport. One of NZTA’s key aims was to provide a more efficient link between the port and airport, to reduce the cost of doing business. Freight businesses have reported they’re saving on average 40 minutes a trip from the wharf to the airport.
‘‘These travel time savings are great news not only for commuters but also for business productivity, it means cost savings for hundreds of businesses,’’ Gliddon said.
‘‘These travel time savings are great news not only for commuters but also for business productivity’’
We’re almost two weeks in - has the Waterview Tunnel lived up to the hype?