It’s been a few months since we last posted an update on what is currently the country’s single biggest transport project. Here are some of the recent updates.

The tunnel boring machine has been dismantled and shipped back to its manufacturer. The biggest piece moved was the main drive which drove the cutter head and weighed 270 tonnes.

It went on the back of a 48 axle double-width trailer pulled by 3 tractor units with another one behind pushing to give it an extra bit of grunt.

The convoy made its way from Maioro Street off ramp, along Sandringham Road and turning on to Balmoral Road and heading through Mt Eden and Grafton to the port.

And some of the recent aerial photos of the project.

Looking south-east with the motorway carving through former park land

Waterview Aerial - 2016-02 - 2

The expansive Waterview interchange continues to grow. Those ramps to the city are likely to put even greater pressure on the motorway from Waterveiw through to the city at peak times.

Waterview Aerial - 2016-02 - 8

The Hendon Ave bridge for pedestrians and cyclists continues to be built.

Waterview Aerial - 2016-02 - 5

Eric Armishaw Reserve Boardwalk under construction

Waterview Aerial - 2016-02 - 9

All of the spoil taken out of the tunnels has gone to fill up the old Wiri Quary as shown below. It will become new industrial land. You can also see ATs train depot in the bottom left corner where they’ve even placed a logo on the roof. Not quite sure of the value of advertising to those in planes flying overhead.

Waterview Aerial - 2016-02 - 1

Lastly here are the most recent timelapse videos from the project

I’m looking forward to end of the “complete the motorways” mantra we’ve heard for so long – not that I actually believe the NZTA or road/construction lobby believe this is the motorway’s being completed.

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  1. I do like watching big infrastructure projects, and this one looks fantastic. It will link Auckland’s major growth areas – West and South Auckland and the Airport, and provide a reason not to build any second harbour crossing for some time.

    However, with greater inflow of cars onto the CMJ, the need to build mass-transit lanes will be even greater than ever. It’s a testament to the lack of foresight of the NZTA that this wasn’t done with other recent work on these sections of motorway.

  2. It would be interesting to have a post once Waterview opens (or prior to and after) comparing the predicted changes in traffic flows to what the actual changes are. Ie will people travel from Albany to the airport via highway 18 or via the harbour bridge? Will the CMJ jam up at the Victoria Park tunnel?

    1. What missing parts are you talking about? Upper harbour highway to northern motorway? Just a short link but eyewateringly expensive. Full motorway status to the airport is another project of dubious value. Let’s see what parallel rapid transit does before we expand motorway corridors any further.

    2. I think you’re not aware of what this is in reference to Jeremy. Numerous politicians claimed ad nauseam that Waterview was so essential because it was the completion of the motorway network in Auckland, Banks frequently stated it needed to be completed before any money was spent on anything but roads. The hollowness of this claim is obvious to all.

    3. I think Jeremy is referring to the eastern arterial. Just as there was land set aside for this motorway, so too was there land set aside for one out east. The original plan was for a ‘ring’ of sorts, dissected by the existing motorway, but the people of Orakei, Meadowbank and St Heliers had more money/QC’s/political clout than the folks of Mt Roskill and Waterview so were able to kill it.

      1. The “old” Eastern Motorway as you call it when first planned, was intended to become the main entry/exit from the CBD when heading south.
        It was planned to avoid the congestion that existed along the strip that ran from Newmarket south to Otahuhu.

        This was to link to the present SH1 route somewhere near Te Irirangi Drive (near Manukau).

        It would have been *the* official SH1 – so it would have built instead of the existing SH1 motorway north of Manukau.

        To say that the motorway system is incomplete because it was never built is nonsense. The present route made this route totally unneeded which is why it sat unbuilt for 50 years.

        It may be true that the richer folks in Remuera and surrounding suburbs helped overturned the eastern highway plan – but thats really because when that motorway was originally planned no one much actually lived along the route.
        And there were then few objections [or means or objecting] to it being designated. Of those that wanted it built, there were many who were local land owners who would profit from the increased land values it would give their land accessible from it on/off ramps.

        But by the time they did start to seriously look at building it – 50 years late, it was simply too late to ram it through, like they easily could have in the 1940’s.

        And in any case, when they actually looked closely at the cost of building over Hobson bay and up the Purewa valley, it became very apparent that that proposed route would be a very expensive piece of land to build on because of soil quality and stability issues.

        Likely it would have cost way more in 1990s dollars when converted to 2015 dollars – than the WRR cost – and the WRR includes two of the biggest bored tunnels in the Southern hemisphere.

      2. Also just a bit of a reality check but the same people who supposedly had the ‘political clout’ to kill it are the people who are stuck in traffic on the current highway system when they want to go South, East or North. There were a lot of people in the East who would have liked that to be built. And it wouldn’t be unheard of for people to oppose a motorway just because motorways = bad and not motorways = good. But the reality is that what killed it was trying to run a motorway through a peaceful gully that had a cemetary in it. Once that was on the front page of the Eastern Bays Courier then there was no going back.

  3. The fact that the East-West motorway through Onehunga is being fast tracked and may even start before this opens demonstrates the whole claims that Waterview was completing the network were just convenient sound bites. Urban motorways will continue to be rammed through urban areas of NZ, repeating history’s mistakes, as long as National is in government and NZTA remains as a road only agency with too much funding.

    1. The greatest waste of money you have ever seen. The shore already has too much; time to put them on a diet.

      1. What makes you think it is people from the shore using that section of motorway? Are you suggesting thousands of people from the North Shore are driving to work in west Auckland? Or maybe it is actually for people from outside the Shore who might benefit.

  4. What a beautiful sight! Almost a work of art. I can hardly wait to use it. The widening and raising of the causeway is amazing too; so much changes from week to week yet traffic keeps flowing so smoothly (albeit a bit slowly due to the 80km/h restrictions).

  5. “motorway carving through former park land”, commercial property, residential property and especially land set aside for the avondale-southdown railway designation.
    And progress on the waterview shared path this year = zero.

  6. “Looking south-east with the motorway carving through former park land”
    This land was always designated for a motorway, they just took their sweet time building it.
    “Those ramps to the city are likely to put even greater pressure on the motorway from Waterview through to the city at peak times.”
    I don’t understand this. Are you saying that current traffic flows don’t put much pressure on the motorway system? You’re saying this will actually make it worse for vehicle traffic?
    “The Hendon Ave bridge for pedestrians and cyclists continues to be built.”
    What, no mention of the pressure this is likely to place on the central city cycleways?

    1. For a taste of the future Waterview, pay a leisurely visit to Manukau via SH20. You won’t have a choice about the leisurely. Good luck retrofitting three queueing lanes at Waterview on those steeply cambered flyovers

    2. The space efficiency of cycling means that you could build 50 new cycleways into the city and the central cycleways would cope. SH16 in the central city on the other hand is often a logjam, will directing more traffic through it help?

    3. Nick this massive motorway build will absolutely put huge pressure on other systems especially the CMJ. It will induce new trips to happen by promising a direct route, and it will direct more traffic more suddenly into the CMJ. These problematic outcomes (yes they’ve been modelled but NZTA aren’t sharing that data) more than balance the good work this will do in providing a bypass for SH1. NZTA have no answer for this, I have asked. Except, no doubt, a future plan to massively double stack the CMJ or something.

      Yes whatever we invest in, in a growing city, will be used, if we keep investing massively in driving, more driving is what we’ll get, and not just on the route we build or expand, but everywhere. As driving is the only full network it is past time to invest disproportionately in the necessary complementary networks. Including cycling, walking, and place quality.

      1. I actually think it would have been fine if it weren’t for the SH20 to SH16 south-to-east-facing ramps. Had those been left out, everything would have worked out much more smoothly.

        Actually it would be an interesting experiment to delay opening those two ramps for a year or three. Or making them bus-only for airport bus services during that time.

        At least they look to be leaving out the equivalent west-to-south facing ramps for SH1-SH18 at Constellation.

    4. iirc the land was always designated for the Avondale Southdown railway (and still is), and the motorway piggybacked off that designation (circa 2009?).

  7. You are are a train-aware tourist and see the AT logo on a loco shed? You will soon be looking for AT info about trains after landing – logical? Cheap advertising anyway. Maybe roof-top labelling should be required on all business premises under all Auckland Airport’s approach paths. It might encourage some businesses to clean up their act.

    1. You are a train-aware tourist and see the AT logo on a loco shed? You will be looking in vain for any sign of trains when you land at Auckland Airport.

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