Construction of interchange ramps that will link the Northwestern and Southwestern Motorways (State Highways 16 & 20) when Auckland’s Waterview Connection opens in 2017 has reached the halfway point.
The last of the precast concrete beams were placed recently on the second and longest of the four ramps that drivers will use to get to and from the Waterview tunnels. The 500m-long ramp will be used by drivers traveling east on the Northwestern Motorway to access the southbound tunnel.
The NZ Transport Agency’s Acting Highway Manager, Mieszko Iwaskow, says the four ramps are on three levels and, in total, add up to 1.7 kilometres of viaduct structure.
“They make a very large project within the already huge Waterview Connection project.”
Mr Iwaskow says the ramps are taking shape above the Northwestern Motorway, one of the busiest sections of motorway in Auckland, with minimal disruption to traffic.
“This is thanks to the yellow self-launching gantry that is a familiar sight for commuters on this section of motorway as it travels backwards and forwards to fetch, lift and then place the concrete beams into place for the ramps.”
The gantry – named Dennis after a project worker who died of cancer in 2013 – eliminates the need for conventional cranes which would have had to be moved into place at the start of each work shift and then taken away before the morning traffic peaks.
“There is no doubt that Dennis is perfect for this job,” Mr Iwaskow says. “It saves time, reduces traffic disruption and avoids the need to use cranes in environmentally sensitive areas of the Oakley Creek estuary.”
Having constructed two of the four interchange ramps, Dennis will soon start work on the highest of the four ramps. It will carry traffic leaving the northbound Waterview tunnel towards the city centre and climb 22 metres above the ground at its highest point.
It is due to be finished by October, leaving just one ramp to be completed in 2016. The ramp that drivers coming from central Auckland will use was completed last May.
The interchange is one part of the Waterview Connection – New Zealand’s largest ever road transport project - which also includes construction of twin three-lane tunnels 2.4kms long.
Connecting the Southwestern and Northwestern Motorways will complete Auckland’s Western Ring Route, a 47-kilometre-long motorway between Albany on the North Shore and Manukau in the south.
The completed motorway is one of the Government’s Roads of National Significance to support economic growth in both Auckland and its regional neighbours. It will give drivers a second motorway choice to the Southern and Northern Motorways (SH1) through central Auckland, reduce traffic on local roads, and provide improved links for public transport and for people who walk and cycle.
The Waterview Connection project is planned to open to traffic in early 2017. It is being delivered by the Well-Connected Alliance which includes the Transport Agency, Fletcher Construction, McConnell Dowell, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Beca Infrastructure, Tonkin & Taylor and Japanese construction company Obayashi Corporation. Sub-alliance partners are Auckland-based Wilson Tunnelling and Spanish tunnel controls specialists SICE.
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