18 Jun 2017

Auckland's $1.4b motorway project opens

5:18 pm on 18 June 2017

Auckland's $1.4 billion tunnel project connecting the southwestern and northwestern motorways is officially open.

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Crowds wait to inspect the tunnel. Photo: RNZ / Laura Tupou

It's expected 60,000 people will be walking and biking through the tunnel over the next five days before it opens for traffic next month.

The Prime Minister Billl English, Transport Minister Simon Bridges and Finance Minister Steven Joyce cut the ribbon at the Waterview tunnel this morning.

The twin three-lane 2.4 kilometre tunnels are twice the length of the Auckland Harbour bridge and have taken just over five years to construct.

Mr English said the project was part of a "massive pipeline of investment" that would help support New Zealand's economy and its population growth.

Bhupesh Patel and his wife and five-year-old son live just 500 metres away from the tunnel in New Windsor.

They said they were excited to see the tunnel today.

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Bhupesh Patel, right, and his family inspect the new tunnel. Photo: RNZ / Laura Tupou

"I'm curious to see what the noise predictions are going to be to be honest. That was my main concern...and traffic," said Mr Patel.

They had been keeping an eye on its construction, he said.

"We always used to go to the lookout and check out the progress...so we had to come have a look, being local."

The tunnels, between Point Chevalier and Mount Roskill, complete the western leg of the Western Ring Route around Auckland, providing a North-South motorway alternative to State Highway 1.

It was initially hoped the tunnels would open in April but faults with the sprinkler system set that back.

The tunnels will be open to traffic in early July.

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