Transport Minister Simon Bridges says the opening of Auckland’s Waterview Tunnel to traffic is the most significant change in Auckland’s transport system since the opening of the Auckland Harbour Bridge in 1959.
The first vehicles travelled through the Waterview Tunnel early this morning.
“The Waterview Tunnel will transform the way people and freight move around the city, providing more options and a more efficient, resilient and reliable transport system,” Mr Bridges says.
“The $1.4 billion Waterview Connection is New Zealand’s biggest and most complex roading project ever with the twin tunnels completing a key link in the Western Ring Route.
“This has been a priority project for the Government because of the significant contribution it will make to New Zealand’s economic growth and prosperity.
“Wider economic benefits are estimated to be worth $430 million, through improved productivity and reduced travel time, and also include the creation of more than 18,000 jobs during the construction of the tunnel.
“Investing in Auckland’s motorway system in this way will reduce the cost of doing business throughout the country and plays a strong role in supporting Auckland’s growing population,” Mr Bridges says.
The Waterview Connection links the Southwestern and Northwestern motorways – providing a 48 kilometre motorway alternative route that will ease pressure on State Highway 1 and the Auckland Harbour Bridge.
In mid-July another two community amenities will open as part of the project.
Auckland’s cycling and walking network will expand further with the opening of the Southwestern Shared Path alongside the motorway between the southern end of the tunnel and the Maioro Street interchange.
The striking Te Whitinga (Hendon footbridge) spanning the motorway will also open to connect the suburbs of New Windsor and Owairaka.
The Waterview Connection links the Southwestern (State Highway 20) and Northwestern (SH16) motorways – providing a 48 kilometre motorway alternative route that will ease pressure on SH1 and the Auckland Harbour Bridge.
“This has been a long awaited and eagerly anticipated piece of transport infrastructure envisioned decades ago. It’s fantastic that New Zealand’s biggest and most ambitious transport infrastructure project is now open to vehicles,” Mr Bridges says.