Dr Parmjeet Parmar
I am looking forward to driving through the Waterview Tunnel when it opens to traffic early this month.
Once open, it will transform the way people and freight move around Auckland, and herald the biggest change in Auckland’s transport system since the opening of the Harbour Bridge in 1959.
It is the final link in the Western Ring Route – a second route through Auckland, bypassing the city centre, creating greater reliability and resilience.
The $1.4 billion tunnel will help unlock Auckland’s potential as a world class city and secure its future economic prosperity. And it will also greatly benefit the communities in our Mt Roskill-Mt Albert area by freeing up local roads by transferring traffic onto the state highway network.
The twin 2.4 km-long, three-lane tunnels and a giant motorway interchange at Great North Road are the final piece in the Western Ring Route, a new 48 km system linking the West of Auckland, Manukau, the City, and the North Shore.
It is a significant part of the strong investment the Government is putting into Auckland.
It will also provide more transport options. New bus shoulder lanes will mean more efficient journeys for people using buses to travel to and from the central business district and demonstrate the Government’s commitment to better public transport.
Significant upgrades and an extension to the Northwestern Cycleway will provide a safe, separated and enjoyable route for pedestrians and cyclists, between the city and western suburbs.
The completed Western Ring Route will provide a better balance of traffic flows across the entire road network, it is not designed to remove congestion altogether. Depending on the time of day, people will be able to see what best route will work for them, providing for a more balanced network.
Better traffic flow
Ramp signals similar to those already operating where State Highway 20 joins State Highway 1 will help to regulate traffic flow on both ramps leading into the Waterview Tunnel and the east-bound ramp out of the tunnel.
The ramp signals are not operated in isolation and are designed to be controlled by operators who are managing the entire road network.
Ramp signals are one of many tools to manage the network, these include things like variable speed signs, variable message signs to inform customers and direct traffic, and the over height detection system.
The signals are not expected to lead to significant queues.
This is a long-awaited and eagerly anticipated piece of transport infrastructure envisioned decades ago is a major change so it will take time for people to get used to the new roads for those who will just want to drive on them for the first time, to commuters and other road users determining their new travel patterns.
Like you, I am looking forward to checking it out.
Dr Parmjeet Parmar is Member of Parliament on National List since September 2014.