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Construction underway on Victoria Park Tunnel project

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Construction on the Victoria Park Tunnel project is now underway, with Transport Minister Steven Joyce shifting the first soil at a ceremony this morning.

Construction on the Victoria Park Tunnel project is now underway, with Transport Minister Steven Joyce shifting the first soil at a ceremony this morning.

The 2.4km-long project will make road travel in Auckland faster, easier and less expensive by eliminating a major chokepoint on one of the busiest stretches of the motorway network.

NZTA Regional Director for Auckland and Northland Wayne McDonald said the project contained many different and innovative elements for drivers and the community.  The project includes a 440 metre tunnel beneath Victoria Park to carry three lanes of northbound traffic, converting the current viaduct to provide four lanes southbound and increasing the capacity of St Mary’s Bay to five lanes in each direction plus a southbound bus shoulder lane and provision for northbound bus priority.

The project will also involves improvement of pedestrian access over the motorway to the harbour, protection of heritage sites like the Birdcage Tavern, and reinstatement of Victoria Park for the benefit of the community.

The project is the final element of the NZTA’s Central Motorway Junction (CMJ) improvements. Those improvements included better motorway access to the port, smoother connections between the Southern and Northwestern motorways, and replacement of the Newmarket Viaduct.    

The project is the first of the Government’s seven Roads of National Significance to start construction. Mr McDonald said the project would help people and goods move more efficiently through New Zealand’s largest urban area.

“This is a very important roading project for Auckland, and critical for reducing congestion on one of the most heavily used sections of the city’s motorway network. It will unlock the full benefits of the CMJ improvements by reducing the significant congestion drivers currently encounter through the Victoria Park Viaduct and St Mary's Bay. The project will also provide a boost for public transport in Auckland by unlocking the full benefits of the North Shore busway, removing the current pinch point at St Mary’s Bay.”

Mr McDonald said when the project was complete southbound motorists would be able to stay in the same lane from the Harbour Bridge to the city, the Southern Motorway or the Northern Motorway, removing the need for difficult and dangerous merging and lane-changing through St Mary’s Bay. The project will also eliminate the current northbound gridlock in the afternoon peak period at the viaduct. 

While full construction of the tunnel will not start until 2010, work has already begun at St Mary’s Bay between Victoria Park and the Auckland Harbour Bridge where the number of motorway lanes is being increased from four to five in both directions.   

“When completed, the project will provide safer trips and more reliable journey times for commuters, users of public transport and those moving freight,” Mr McDonald says. 

The project is being built by the Victoria Park Alliance, comprised of the NZTA, Fletcher Construction, Beca Infrastructure, Higgins, and Parsons Brinkerhoff.

SH1 Victoria Park Tunnel – Fact sheet

Key details

  • Project is located on SH1 between Wellington Street and the Auckland Harbour Bridge
  • A new ‘cut and cover’ tunnel will be built underneath the Victoria Park viaduct
  • The existing lanes on the viaduct will be retained as four southbound lanes
  • Project forms the third and final part of the central motorway improvements (Central Motorway Junction and Grafton Gully are completed)
  • Construction of the project has been brought forward by 15 months
  • • Estimated cost around $400m
  • Workforce estimated to peak at 450

Benefits

  • Improved motorway capacity
  • Ease congestion on SH1 and Victoria Park viaduct – one of the worst bottlenecks in Auckland
  • Improved safety and more reliable travel times between the North Shore and Auckland and between Central Auckland and surrounding areas
  • Urban tunnel to help minimise traffic noise
  • Better manage traffic flows through the central motorway junction
  • Priority shoulder lane for buses
  • Better pedestrian access and links to the city

Key features

  • Length of project: 2.2km
  • Length of tunnel: 440m
  • Auckland’s first urban motorway tunnel will be built to include three northbound lanes
  • The existing Victoria Park viaduct will be retained as four southbound lanes which will double capacity for motorists travelling from the North Shore to the south
  • An extra lane will be added in each direction from Victoria Park to the Harbour Bridge to give a total of ten motorway lanes
  • Unique features: tunnel will be constructed using a ‘cut and cover’ method – a trench is excavated and lined and a concrete roof placed over the top. The roof will then be covered with topsoil and returned as public open space.
  • Current traffic flow Victoria Park viaduct: up to 200,000 vehicles per day

Public transport and environmental features

  • Southbound bus shoulder lane will be provided along St Mary’s Bay
  • Pedestrian/cyclist footbridge will be built over the motorway linking St Mary’s Bay to Westhaven
  • Noise walls will feature along St Mary’s Bay and Freemans Bay
  • Key heritage icons will be preserved and the historic Birdcage Tavern will be relocated
  • Public open space in Victoria Park will be retained and recreational facilities upgraded

Background – Roads of National Significance

  • The Vic Park Tunnel project is one of seven Roads of National Significance, three of the roads are in Auckland
  • The Government is prioritising the roads to support economic growth, help reduce congestion and improve safety

For more information please contact:

Ewart Barnsley
Auckland Media Manager,
NZ Transport Agency
T 64 9 3682142
M 64 27 2137616
E ewart.barnsley@nzta.govt.nz

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