New Zealand’s £790M Waterview highways project will open next month following five years of construction, marking the end of the country’s largest ever road project.
The Waterview Connection scheme consists of 4.8km of six-lane highway, with more than half running through two underground tunnels. Road tunnels are not common in New Zealand, and the Waterview Connection tunnels run through challenging conditions including soft sedimentary rock and basalt lava flows.
Tunnelling started in 2013 but the scheme was hit by controversy in 2015 when a fault at an Auckland plant led to concrete being used which contained insufficient levels of cement. Footpaths, retaining walls and crash barriers were affected on the Great North Road Interchange, an elevated section of the road project.
In May the New Zealand Transport Agency announced a delay in opening the tunnel as software for a jet fan and water extraction pump system was faulty.
The road link closes the gap in the 48km Western Ring Route circling Auckland and eases pressure on the State Highway 1 and the Auckland Harbour Bridge, which experience severe congestion.
Well-Connected has delivered the project, a joint venture including New Zealand and international companies Parsons Brinckerhoff New Zealand, Fletcher Construction, McConnell Dowell Constructors, Obayashi Corporation, Beca Infrastructure and Tonkin & Taylor.