The Waterview Connection has already improved the journeys of thousands of motorists during the usually busy Monday morning commute period following its opening to traffic at the weekend.
By midnight yesterday 78,000 vehicles had travelled through both tunnels since they opened early on Sunday morning.
Heavy traffic was expected through the twin 2.4km long tunnels during the peak Monday morning period, however the NZ Transport Agency says traffic has been free flowing.
“It’s been a great Monday morning across the Auckland motorway network. Traffic has been free-flowing through the tunnel as well as on State Highway 16 and State Highway 20,” says Transport Agency spokesperson Brett Gliddon.
“In particular people are telling us they’ve had vastly improved travel times from the North Shore to the airport this morning, a journey that can often be quite slow going.”
The additional route that the Waterview Connection provides on State Highway 20 has also improved journey times on State Highway 1 between Papakura and the CBD. There were time savings of up to 23 minutes during yesterday’s afternoon peak into the city and up to four minutes savings out of the CBD.
“The Waterview Connection isn’t designed to remove peak time congestion altogether but so far it has provided a better balance of traffic flows across the road network.”
Traffic volumes inside the tunnel during Sunday peaked at around 4,000 vehicles an hour in each direction at lunchtime, with more than 2,200 extra vehicles on the motorway system at one time through this period than on a typical Sunday.
“This shows that many people were checking out the tunnel for the first time and demand was extraordinarily high, given these extra traffic flows the motorway system was working very well yesterday and that’s continued into today,” says Brett Gliddon.
“Thanks to all those motorists who’ve been patient about using the tunnel and for taking extra care as they drive through it, it’s all helped towards a really smooth first couple of days.”
The Transport Agency says things will be busy again this afternoon and this evening and motorists should continue to plan ahead and allow extra time for their journeys.
“It’s still early days and we’re expecting it to take some time for people to get used to the new route options they have, as well as how to drive safely through the tunnel, but so far motorists have been doing their bit and following our tunnel driving tips.”
“We will continue to monitor traffic flows and make adjustments to manage demand and keep things moving right across Auckland’s transport system.”
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.