The opening of the Waterview Tunnels is another important step in the continuing development of Auckland’s road transport network, says the country’s largest road freight organisation, National Road Carriers.
"We welcome the opening of the tunnels, the fruition of the western ring route, which the NRC has been advocating for, for 30 years," says David Aitken, the CEO of National Road Carriers.
"We don’t expect the tunnels will put an end to all the city’s congestion problems.
"But it reinforces the importance of maintaining the momentum to complete other missing links in the motorway network."
The tunnels are expected to cut trip times from Manukau, the Southdown - Penrose area and the airport to west Auckland, the North Shore and Northland.
The tunnels just about complete the western ring route from Manukau to Westgate and the Upper Harbour crossing.
The tunnels will take a significant amount of heavy transport off the roads in the Mt Albert and Waterview areas, although flammable and other dangerous goods will still have to use existing routes as they are not allowed to use the tunnels.
"We are also playing infrastructure catch up in other areas to get traffic moving more effectively," says David.
The completion of SH 18 between the Albany Highway and SH 1 and further improvements north to Oteha Valley Road on SH 1 would take the pressure of urban streets and allow traffic to flow more freely, he says.
The need for the East - West link between Sylvia Park and Onehunga, linking SH 1 and SH 20 to service Penrose and surrounding industrial areas had not lessened, said Mr Aitken. A hearing on the proposal is about to start before the Environmental Protection Agency before the end of the month.
"The NRC has been advocating for this for as long as its involvement in the Waterview Tunnels," says David.
"With Auckland’s population growth, the number of trucks on the road is only going to grow, delivering goods, construction materials and all the myriad of things a big city needs to survive."