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Motorists have helped make Waterview Tunnel’s first day a success

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The NZ Transport Agency says the Waterview Tunnel’s first day of operation has gone extremely smoothly and is thanking the thousands of motorists who’ve made their first journeys through the tunnel for taking extra care.

Auckland Highway Manager, Brett Gliddon says all systems in the 2.4km long twin tunnels have been working as they were designed to and the public have been obeying the safe driving rules, resulting in no significant incidents.

“We’re really pleased with how things have gone today and while the tunnel has been very busy with first time users, everything has been working to plan.”

“Travel demand has been building steadily throughout the day and will pick up another notch on Monday, for the start of the working week.”

“It’s going to be really busy  and many people will be using the new route for the first time so we’re asking everyone to be patient and factor in extra travel time for the next few weeks while things settle down.”

“We will continue to keep a close eye on traffic flows and adjust traffic control signals and other tools to help keep traffic moving across the wider road system.”

“This amazing piece of infrastructure is going to be with us for a long time and if people can put their sightseeing on hold it will help reduce congestion in the tunnel and the roads nearby.”

The Transport Agency says people have been using the tunnel well, sticking to the 80km/h speed limit and staying in their lane, which reduces the risks of a crash or incident in the tunnel.”

The Waterview Connection, which joins the Northwestern and Southwestern motorways is the final link in the Western Ring Route, one of the Government’s Roads of National Significance to support growth and development.

The 48km Western Ring Route creates greater reliability and resilience, as well as more transport options with bus lanes and walking and cycling connections and creating efficient links to and from Auckland Airport.

While it’s not designed to remove peak time congestion altogether it will provide a better balance of traffic flows across the road network, including helping to remove cars from local roads.

The Transport Agency’s top tips for safe driving inside the tunnel:

  • Follow the signs and get into your lane early, then stay in your lane to reduce the likelihood of an accident and delays.
  • Dangerous goods vehicles, vehicles over 4.3m high and vehicles carrying uncovered loose bulk loads are not allowed inside the tunnel. Follow signs for the detour route.
  • In addition to the specific instructions for the Waterview Tunnel, usual motorway rules such as appropriate following distances, no stopping, reversing or 'u' turns still apply.
  • If there’s an incident in the tunnel and when traffic is stopped, stay in your car. You will be advised via the overhead signs, radio and/or PA systems of what is happening and any action you may need to take.
  • Ensure your vehicle has sufficient fuel for your journey.
  • Any vehicle stopped in a lane from accident, mechanical breakdown or otherwise, will be pushed or towed to a place of safety as quickly as possible.
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