The NZ Transport Agency has thanked Aucklanders for their tremendous support after 20,000 people visited the Waterview Connection project for a once-in-a-lifetime look behind the scenes of New Zealand’s largest-ever roading project.
“There’s no doubt that Alice, our tunnel boring machine, was our star of the day and the attention she received from the community’s fantastic turnout is a perfect send off ahead of her long journey underground,” says the Transport Agency’s State Highway Manager, Tommy Parker.
Admission to the open day was ticket only, and all 20,000 tickets were allocated within two weeks of being made available. Mr Parker says careful planning and organisation by the Well-Connected Alliance, which is constructing the tunnels, contributed to the day’s success.
“The turnout was one of the biggest we’ve ever had for any of our projects, and it reflects the huge level of interest in the Waterview project. We’re all very grateful for the support and the positive feedback.”
Final work is now underway to complete preparations before tunnelling is planned to start at the end of the month.
Alice is the world’s 10th largest tunnel boring machine. She will begin the first leg of her year-long journey - from Owairaka to Waterview - boring a 2.4 kilometre-long tunnel wide enough for three lanes of motorway traffic. At Waterview she will be turned around for her return journey to complete the second tunnel.
The tunnels will connect Auckland’s Northwestern and Southwestern Motorways (State Highways 16 and 20) to complete the Western Ring Route. The Western Ring Route from Manukau to Albany will be a motorway alternative to SH1 through the centre of Auckland. It is one of the Government’s roads of national significance that will improve both city and regional transport links.