The NZ Transport Agency's Victoria Park Tunnel project will pass a significant milestone next week when the Fanshawe Street motorway on ramp changes lanes.
From Monday morning (30 May), traffic leaving Auckland's CBD from Fanshawe Street will use new lanes constructed over the top of the tunnel's northern exit. The change will allow traffic using both Fanshawe Street and the tunnel to merge safely.
The NZTA's State Highways Manager for Northland and Auckland, Tommy Parker, says rebuilding the on ramp has been an important part of the tunnel project that has posed both engineering and traffic management challenges.
"Because the lanes run over the top of the tunnel, work could not start until the tunnel roof was completed. It then involved major construction with minimal disruption to traffic at what is New Zealand's busiest motorway interchange."
Mr Parker says paving for the new lanes and lane marking will be completed this week, weather permitting. The Fanshawe Street on ramp will be closed this Sunday night (29 May) and will reopen at 5am on Monday in its new layout.
The Victoria Park Tunnel project is the NZ Transport Agency's largest road construction project underway and was the first started of the Government's seven roads of national significance. It will remove the last major traffic bottleneck on Auckland's central motorway network by building a tunnel under Victoria Park for three northbound lanes and widening the Northern Motorway through St Marys Bay by one lane in each direction.
Mr Parker says another project milestone achieved last weekend was the demolition of the garage for the moveable lane barrier machine at the southern end of the Auckland Harbour Bridge. Popularly known as the Elephant House, its now vacant site will become part of the wider motorway being constructed through St Marys Bay. A new enclosure for the machine will be built under the existing Victoria Park Viaduct.
The Victoria Park Tunnel is due to open to two lanes of traffic in early November, three months early. The entire project will be completed in March next year.