Thousands walk through Auckland's long-awaited Waterview Tunnel video

CHRIS MCKEEN/Stuff.co.nz

Thousands walk through new tunnel

Tens of thousands of people are experiencing Auckland's 2.4km, $1.4 billion Waterview Tunnel on Sunday.

An opening ceremony and ribbon cutting - attended by Prime Minister Bill English - started at 10.30am, with thousands of pedestrians and cyclists - who booked the event out within hours - now making their way through the tunnel.

English addressed media and spectators at the opening ceremony and paid tribute to all those who had worked hard to bring the project to life.
The Waterview tunnel was officially opened and the public allowed to walk through on Sunday.
Chris McKeen/ Fairfax NZ

The Waterview tunnel was officially opened and the public allowed to walk through on Sunday.

"This a very exciting day for Auckland," English said.

READ MORE:
* What happens if there's an emergency at the Waterview Tunnel?
* Auckland's Waterview Tunnel to open in early July after months-long delay
* Waterview Tunnel to slow north-west traffic?

"It has been 60 years in the making and there are many other major projects in the pipeline.

JACKSON THOMAS/Stuff.co.nz

Aucklanders get their first look at the brand new Waterview tunnel.

"I know the public will really appreciate it, and I hope they'll have a real sense of ownership with this next step."

The massive roading project was earmarked to open at Easter, but holdups due to a fault with the tunnel's jet fan and water extraction pump system have meant vehicles won't be allowed in until early July.

Transport Minister Simon Bridges touted the tunnel as the biggest change to Auckland traffic flows since the opening of the Harbour Bridge. 

From left; Transport Minister Simon Bridges, Prime Minister Bill English and Finance Minister Steven Joyce officially ...
CHRIS MCKEEN/FAIRFAX NZ

From left; Transport Minister Simon Bridges, Prime Minister Bill English and Finance Minister Steven Joyce officially open the Waterview tunnel with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

He too acknowledged workers at the opening ceremony.

Ad Feedback

"We really need to thank the workers, some 11,000 people have worked on this tunnel - 1800 a day at its peak," Bridges said.

After the ceremony, thousands began to pile through the entrance of the tunnel as Auckland mayor Phil Goff greeted the excited crowd at the entrance.

Tens of thousands of people walked through Auckland's new $1.4 billion Waterview Tunnel on Sunday.
Chris McKeen/ Fairfax NZ

Tens of thousands of people walked through Auckland's new $1.4 billion Waterview Tunnel on Sunday.

One spectator said it was a fabulous experience and a great piece of engineering. When asked why he wanted to be one of the first to walk through he said: "I just had to, it's a part of Auckland history."

The tunnel and associated ring road will connect Auckland's northwestern and southwestern motorways.

They are the final links in the 48km Western Ring Route, which is expected to reduce inner-city traffic by offering an alternative to the Harbour Bridge that skirts the Waitemata Harbour.

Construction kicked off in 2012 and excavation traditions dating back to early mining days had been carried out in the process - the naming of major machinery, for one.

A state-of-the-art boring machine dubbed Alice removed 800,000 cubic metres of earth, enough to fill 320 Olympic-sized swimming pools, as part of the tunnel's construction.

Alice was named by local school children after Alice in Wonderland, due to their shared propensity for subterranean exploration and was 87m in length.

Dennis the gantry, capable of hoisting concrete beams weighing 65 tonnes, was named after a project worker who died of cancer before the tunnel's completion.

Inside the tunnel there is enough wiring to stretch from Auckland to Waiouru, and the scale of its paint job could cover Auckland Airport three times over.

The tunnels are the longest road tunnels in New Zealand – the Lyttleton road tunnel at 1.97km previously held the record.

Construction included laying almost five km of drainage pipes, installing 104 flame traps, 4000 lights, 62 ventilation fans, 400 km or 270 tonnes of cabling and wiring, and five deluge storage tanks each containing 250,000 litres of water for fire control.

The New Zealand Transport Agency said while the tunnels are not designed to remove congestion altogether, the Western Ring Route as a whole will provide a better balance of traffic flows across the entire network and will help remove cars from local roads.

It will also provide more transport options including bus lanes and walking and cycling connections.

 - Stuff

Comments

Ad Feedback
special offers
Auckland

Housing chief fear in Northcote

North Shore ward councillor Chris Darby said people can't live in consents.

"No one can afford a $650,000, so why is it affordable? Massey University professor asks.

Sport: Stephen Donald raring to go

Open side flanker Fotu Lokotui scores his first try in Steelers colours. 22-mkc-lokotui01

Stephen Donald pronounced fit for Waikato.

Bennett rules out legalising marijuana

Police Minister Paula Bennett says the the crackdown on synthetic drugs was one of her top priorities.

Upper Harbour MP Paula Bennett says loosening cannabis regulations is not on the cards to tackle the rising tide of cheap, synthetics drugs.

New commander in charge

Counties Manukau Police district commander Superintendent Jill Rogers follows in the footsteps of two influential commanders.

A series of changes to south Auckland police leadership is complete with new district commander Superintendent Jill Rogers.

Wellington

Wainui to be Wellington's Mayfair?

The bucket fountain on Cuba St.

Voting for capital version of famous board game throws up unexpected suggestions.

Brothers' $2.4m fight

Robert Burnside, son of Jim, has been involved in a court fight with his brother Alec.

Judge tells sons of wealthy Hawke's Bay businessman to stop the "unreasonable mutual suspicion" and infighting.

They're taking the P

Kapiti Mayor K Gurunathan says there are better ways of raising awareness about methamphetamine abuse than altering ...

Dozens of Kapiti road signs have lost the letter P - and some people are not amused.

TAB robbery arrest

07012016 News Photo: Maarten Holl
file photos - generic police photos - shot in Naenae, Wellington

Police arrest 36-year-old man after two robberies, including one at Petone TAB.

Canterbury

Canty house pops up in field

Hillcrest, a 140-year-old colonial villa from Marshlands, Christchurch has come to rest in the middle of a field near ...

Out to pasture: No longer wanted, 140-year-old homestead sold and popped in a field.

Best spend for Canty?

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern pledged an extra $30m towards boosting mental health support for Canterby at Christchurch's ...

ANALYSIS: Is Labour's vow to boost mental health support for our most pressing need? Is it feasible?

Incident at Dunedin hospital

Four people have been injured after an incident at Wakari Hospital in Dunedin on Tuesday morning.

Four people were taken to Dunedin Hospital after the Wakari Hospital incident.

Missing man's car found in canal

Missing Twizel man David Fountain.

David Fountain is "a creature of habit", but police have found his car in a hydro canal.

Waikato

Staff's last resort

The front glass doors of the BP in Horotiu were smashed by four robbers armed with a metal bar.

Petrol station staff resort to parking car in front of doors to stop ram raiders.

River crash victim dies

Rescuers extract the two people from the car towing a trailer that plunged into the Waikato River at Cambridge on ...

The 60-year-old woman died in Waikato Hospital on Monday afternoon.

Rail promise for Hamilton

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern announces her plan to create a commuter railway connection between Auckland, Hamilton and ...

Billions of dollars' worth of roads will not help ease congestion - but rail will, Labour says. 

Tuheitia reaffirms Māori Party

Waikato Tainui Kīngi Tuheitia Pootatau Te Wherowhero Vll at the 11th annual Koroneihana, celebrating his ascension to ...

Māori King Tuheitia also dismissed Māori TV in an address at Tūrangawaewae​ Marae.

Taranaki

Tapping into Taranaki history

Rob Green, of Heritage Taranaki, has been part of a group which has developed a free app exploring the history of the ...

Modern technology being used to transport people back to the battlefields of Taranaki's civil war.

From office to garden

Amanda Kendrick swapped her 9-5 job for a lawn full of produce.

She traded her 9 to 5 job for a slice of the good life. 

School slowing down

Stratford Primary School Principal Jason Elder and school patrol member Noah West-Adam, 12, are hoping the Stratford ...

One car was clocked at 120kmh outside the Stratford Primary School.

Energyworks buyback

Energyworks Engineering in Bell Block, formerly Inglewood Engineering, will focus more on gas as oil prices remain low.

It was a Taranaki-owned company once and Energyworks is a Taranaki-owned company again.

Manawatu

Restaurants to fire up

20082017 news photo DAVID UNWIN/STUFF
Godreys BBQ and Grill is set to open in a month. General Manager David Adsett has ...

One is traditional American barbecue, the other South African Braai. Both come from a deep love of food.

River works urgent

Erosion at the Ashhurst Domain is made worse by flooding in May.

Agreements are being sought for the protection of the Ashhurst Domain.

Rare brain condition crippling video

Elijah North has microcephaly, which means his brain does not grow as well as it should.

But parents of 2-year-old aren't giving up hope and have turned to Australia for treatment.

New meetings provide change

A chief executive relationship committee restricts chief executive David Clapperton and mayor Michael Feyen's ...

Horowhenua councillors say group formed to monitor communication between chief executive and the council was needed.

Nelson

Sabotage at the sanctuary

A section of the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary fence that was cut out over the weekend ahead of a poison drop.

Holes were cut in a Nelson bird sanctuary fence, locks glued and trees felled ahead of poison drop.

The missing Link

Nick Smith said he's hopeful Nelson's Southern Link could be included in an upcoming regional transport announcement.

The Southern Link has not been included on the govt's 'national significance' list.

Forestry fail: Bach destroyed

The felled tree trunk pierces into the living room.

Miracle no-one home as felled tree writes off Nelson family's much-loved bach.

Fiery end to test drive

Emergency services respond to a vehicle fire on Princes Drive in Britannia Heights, Nelson.

A car for sale in Nelson probably won't be bought after it burst into flames during a test drive.

Marlborough

Fresh approach?

Labour has printed another 5000 signs to replace the ones featuring former leader Andrew Little.

Come on Labour, let's do this. Campaign signs still selling the old "approach" in Marlborough.

Log spears family bach

The felled tree trunk pierces into the living room.

Family demands answers after felled tree destroys Marlborough Sounds bach.

Food cart back in business

Food truck owner Karen Gonzalez, left, serves Priyanthi Bojaraj in November before she was forced to close her business ...

NZTA put $10,000 towards making the lay-by safer for drivers pulling over.

Back in the race

Marlborough Racing Club president Eric Bowers has previously opposed the sale of Waterlea Racecourse land. (File photo)

Hold your horses! All bets back on after ministry U-turn on campus site.

South Canterbury

Man's car found in canal

Missing Twizel man David Fountain.

A police dive team has found missing man David Fountain's car in a canal near Twizel.

Food course launched

The new food processing course would begin at Ara Institute of Canterbury next year.

New qualification to prepare students for life in the food processing sector launched.

Rare kaki released into wild

51 kaki will be released in the Mackenzie Basin on Tuesday.

Fifty one of the world's rarest wading bird are being released in the Mackenzie Basin.

Council silent on woodburner comments

Woodburner.

Council has no public position on by-election candidate's advice to halt applications for woodburner consents.

Otago

Incident at Dunedin hospital

Four people have been injured after an incident at Wakari Hospital in Dunedin on Tuesday morning.

Four people were taken to Dunedin Hospital after the Wakari Hospital incident.

Balclutha Santa parade paid for by pokies

The Problem Gaming Foundation of New Zealand is urging councils not to use pokie machine funding.

Pokie funding to pay for Balclutha Santa Parade to continue.

From The News Desk: My pokie funding dilemma.

Clutha Leader reporter Mary-Jo Tohill.

From The News Desk: My pokie funding dilemma.

Winter Games NZ opens Friday

US ski racer David Chodounsky will compete in a night dual slalom at the opening of the Winter Games on Friday.

15-year-old Queenstown ski racer Alice Robinson will be one to watch.

Southland

Polyfest hits new heights video

Members of the Otatara Kindy on stage at Polyfest 2017

''They like the sense of whanau, they feel like they are a part of something."

Hospitality at the heart of the south

Ronald McDonald Family Room supervisor Helen Walker and volunteer Susan Stenton at the Ronald McDonald House ...

Southland's inaugural Purple Work Shirt Day is raising funds for Ronald McDonald House.

'Stubbornness' gets Grieve home

Dwight Grieve from Fiordland leads Jack McNaughton and Buddy Small in the early stages of the Southland championships in ...

Stubbornness and a want to succeed have helped Dwight Grieve claim the Southland Road Championship title in Te Anau on Saturday.

Quick thinking prevents injury

Fire crews attend a house fire on Dipton street, Invercargill, on Sunday afternoon.

An Invercargill family had a close shave following a house fire in Kingswell.

Ad Feedback