Backgrounder: works to open the tunnel


Two of the Victoria Park Tunnel’s three lanes will open early on Monday 14 November, at the end of a weekend of intensive work to connect the northbound motorway lanes to the tunnel approach.

The work will be located just north of the Nelson Street off ramp.

Reduced capacity on the motorway throughout the weekend is likely to result in severe delays on detour routes and northbound around the Auckland CBD.

Drivers are being urged to use an alternative northbound route, preferably the new State Highway 16/18 to State Highway 1 link between Westgate and Albany.

The main changes over the weekend for drivers are:

  • The Northwestern Motorway (State Highway 16) to North (State Highway 1) link at the Central Motorway Junction will be closed throughout the weekend
  • The Port (State Highway 16) to North (State Highway 1) link will be closed throughout the weekend
  • The Northern Motorway (State Highway 1) will be closed at night between the Nelson Street off ramp and Fanshawe Street on ramp
  • One northbound lane of the Northern Motorway (State Highway 1)  between the Nelson Street off ramp and Fanshawe Street on ramp will be closed during the day

Work is due to start at 10pm on Friday 11 November.  The tunnel will be open and all closures will be lifted by 5am on Monday 14 November.

If work cannot proceed for weather or safety reasons, it will be postponed to the next available weekend.

What’s involved in these works?

There is a significant difference in levels between the approach to the tunnel and the existing northbound motorway lanes. This needs to be corrected before the north bound lanes are diverted from the Victoria Park flyover to the new tunnel.

It requires excavating and rebuilding the motorway in a triangular section at the point where the northbound motorway lanes will shift direction slightly to take traffic to the tunnel.   This section has been out of the reach of the Victoria Park Tunnel project because of its proximity to ‘live’ motorway lanes.  Also, it is work that can only be done in conjunction with opening the tunnel.

How will traffic be managed?

Traffic heading north through the Central Motorway Junction on the Northern Motorway peaks at approximately 2500 vehicles per hour around the middle of the day on Saturdays and Sundays.  This is nearly double the capacity of the single motorway lane, which will be open during the day on Saturday (12 November) and Sunday (13 November).

The ‘overflow’ will exceed the capacity of the main detour route, which is to the Fanshawe Street motorway on ramp via Nelson Street.
It’s estimated that we need to reduce demand on this section of motorway by 25 per cent during the traffic peaks.

An extensive communication campaign has been developed to inform drivers that they should avoid the work area or expect delays. A key message is that this will be a good weekend to shop and eat close to home.  Another is that anyone travelling to the CBD over the weekend should use public transport if they can.

During the weekend full use will be made of electronic signs on the motorway to warn drivers of queues ahead and recommend the best action to avoid them.

What are drivers’ options?

The communication campaign prior to and during the weekend urges drivers  to use an alternative route north if possible.  These are:

  • North via the Northwestern Motorway (SH16) and the newly completed Hobsonville to North Shore (SH18 – SH1) link
  • North via the CBD and Fanshawe St on ramp
  • North via the Curran St on ramp.