Campbell Live this evening did a piece on the Victoria Park Tunnel – picking up on many of the points made in this post earlier in the week. Click the image below to watch the video: It’s a pity that Tommy Parker from NZTA never had to answer the question of how much rebuilding the Wellington Street onramp actually cost but he certainly seemed nervous about the whole issue. On the bright side, it’s nice to see bloggers from here getting on TV and doing such a great job (plus he probably looks better on TV than I do) .

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  1. If NZTA knew that reopening Wellington St onramp was going to cause problems, then why on earth did they spend millions on rebuilding it? There’s a giant retaining wall between the ramp and the motorway that was completely rebuilt just for the ramp (it could have been a slope otherwise). Those walls seriously don’t come cheap.

  2. Nice work Patrick!

    Now we need to get Campbell Live to ask them hard questions about how much it cost. That was Campbell Live?

    Maybe the Walrus will ask?

    With the Wellington St ramp closed- where do those 7000 cars a day go? Franklin- Ponsonby- Jervois- Curran?

    Or down to Fanshawe?

    Slight diversion-
    Does anyone remember when Bomber did that hidden camera show and shamed people who drove down Howe St and pushed into the queue at Wellington St? Then he knocked on their car windows while hey were stuck and asked them if they weren’t being a bit cheeky. TV gold…

    1. With the high bus numbers over the Bridge, perhaps some of those cars are being left at home?

      Or being driven at different times.

      Basic travel demand management.

  3. The whole piece (aside from Patrick’s segment) misses the point that it was a huge waste to rebuild the thing, despite (presumably) knowing from the start that it wouldn’t be reopened, and then ended (ironically) with a display of the same shonky travel time savings that are used to justify all the motorways over the city. Oh dear, when will we get a reporter that has any clue about transport.

  4. Spending $10m or so building an on ramp that will never be used is fairly typical government department stuff in Auckland. Further south, NZTA spent some $20m building the infrastructure and formation for the Manukau Branch southern junction connection, while at the same time KiwiRail spent $6m building new sidings that cross the formation, preventing it from ever being developed. I suspect for all these stuff ups the problem lies with the planners being Wellington-based.

  5. Thanks NZTA for doing things this way, you make me feel like if I was back in Italy!
    And it’s not a compliment, at all.
    I’m used to think negatively in cases like this. Those millions spent in the onramp, in which pockets did they end up? This is not only a matter of poor planning, it’s a ****load of money for someone!

  6. Think positive guys. Maybe it just becomes a convenient safety and emergency access or exit from the motorway if there is an accident in the tunnel.

  7. It was the normal level quality of reporting. They didn’t even mention the Grafton Gully/Port onramp for northbound. And it changes the story quite dramatically, as they claim that the CBD has lost its direct access to the motorways. And in most instances Grafton Gully is a better onramp.

    1. I just had the chance to watch this for the first time. Very strange they ignored the recently built Grafton-to-North link. This effectively added new northbound onramps at Wellesley St (right in the heart of the city) and also at Beach Rd/The Strand down in Mechanics Bay where SH16 starts.

      Bit of an oversight not to note there are actually two further sets of northbound on-ramps available to city motorists heading over the bridge.

  8. Maybe the ramp could become a T3 lane to limit the vehicles using it and encourage car pooling. Dunno how you’d police it though.

  9. I always thought the Wellington Street onramp was poorly placed, I’m happy for it to be shut, my main concern is that they clearly didn’t want to confront any debate about closing it before starting the project so instead took what appears to have been the easier route and spent the money. I find it a sickening waste of transport funds, when they’re happily turning down applications from AT for funds to re-design/re-build train stations. We’re probably talking close to the entire sum of money that is spent annually in Auckland perhaps Nationally on walking on cycling, being blown on nothing. Last I hear NZTA were trying to pass it over to AT as a bus onramp, they weren’t interested, would have worked for NZTA though, they’re always into doing a bit of PT-washing.

  10. I miss the Wellington St onramp because it was by far the best way to get from the North Western to the Northern during peak hours, as the direct connection is heavily backed up at those times thanks to the idiotic decision to put traffic lights on the motorway junction.

    1. I think the other problem there is that 2 lanes from the NW have to merge into 1. One of the selling points of the NW to N connection was that there would be less traffic on Ponsonby Rd, but clearly the traffic engineers forgot about that traffic increases to fill any spare capacity.

  11. I would support Josh’s suggestion that we leave Wellington Street close and form a northbound on ramp off Newton Road. I think there is already a construction ramp form there already. Mind you when they link up Highway 20 at Pt Chev the increased volumes will clog it up again.

  12. Argh, that maths at the end hurt. x drivers using the on ramp times y minutes each = xy minutes of savings for auckland motorists. It appears that that reporter missed the point of why the off-ramp hasn’t been opened… She seems to assume that adding ~7000 vehicles per day right at the current bottleneck of the system won’t hold up the thousands of stuck in already huge tailback.

  13. I’m not going to say this wasn’t a stuff up, cause I’m sure it probably was, but I think a stuff-up for the best. Wellington Street on-ramp should never have thought to been opened, and at least NZTA are finally making the right decision on this issue. However I also believe that the on-ramp should have still been built. This is still a tunnel, and in an emergency it’s important to have contingencies. Wellington On-ramp is in the perfect position to be a emergency vehicle access route, and evacuation route, this is what it should remain.

    1. Yes I’m pleased it’s closed, and it isn’t a disaster that it’s there.

      But still it is time to stop trying to shove more traffic through the whole CMJ and to start ambitiously building the alternatives to driving. NZTA + MoT

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