A month after the Waterview Tunnel opened to traffic, road users are benefiting from quicker, more reliable travel times and traffic flows across both local roads and Auckland’s motorway system, Transport Minister Simon Bridges says.
“Around 60,000 vehicles are using the Waterview Connection each day, with more than 2 million vehicles now having travelled through the twin tunnels between the suburbs of Owairaka and Waterview,” Mr Bridges says.
“People now have a choice between State Highway 1 and the Western Ring Route and that’s helping to rebalance the city’s travel demands and is making both the motorway system and local roads more efficient.
“The Waterview Connection, one of the Government’s Roads of National Significance, is creating extra motorway capacity and resilience helping to keep Auckland moving and New Zealand growing.
“The twin-tunnels provide an alternate route through Auckland, bypassing the city centre, reducing the reliance on State Highway 1 and the Auckland Harbour Bridge, as well as freeing up local roads,” Mr Bridges says.
Travel demand on State Highway 1, which is the busiest section of road in the country has now dropped by around 7% with a corresponding increase on SH20 and SH16. This redistribution is resulting in a more efficient motorway system with around 8,500 fewer hours each day of total travel time on the motorways alone.
“That’s seen average travel times between Papakura and the city in the morning peak slashed, with journeys that used to take up to 70 minutes now consistently taking 56 minutes. There are similar benefits in the evening peak. It used to take up to 55 minutes from the CBD to Papakura, while it’s now consistently taking an average of 48 minutes,” Mr Bridges says.
The Waterview Tunnel is also benefiting those travelling between the city and the airport.
“Prior to the Waterview Connection, journeys from the Airport to the CBD in the afternoon peak would take an average 44 minutes via Manukau Rd and Gillies Ave. Now, via the Waterview Tunnel, they take 27 minutes and via the Manukau/Gillies route they have also dropped to 34 minutes,” Mr Bridges says.
“Motorists traveling around and through Auckland now have quicker trips with journey times more consistent and reliable.
“Government will continue to invest in Auckland’s transport system to support its growing population. Making it easier, more reliable and efficient for people and freight to move around Auckland securing not only Auckland, but New Zealand’s economic growth and prosperity,” Mr Bridges says.