12 October, 2012
Major milestone for Newmarket Viaduct project
Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee has marked a significant milestone this morning in the Government’s effort to improve Auckland’s motorway network.
The Minister gave the official signal at 10.15am to a crane operator at the Newmarket Viaduct Replacement project site to begin work removing the giant launching gantry affectionately known as ‘Big Blue’ from the construction site.
The distinctive blue launching gantry has been a prominent feature on the Auckland motorway skyline since late 2008, where it has done the heavy lifting and lowering to remove the old viaduct and build a seismically stronger replacement providing four southbound and three northbound motorway lanes.
Its removal will effectively mark the end of major construction work on the project – a key part of the Government’s push to improve traffic flows through Auckland’s central motorway junction – the busiest section of motorway in New Zealand, used by 160,000 vehicles every day.
"Together, the new viaduct at Newmarket and the Victoria Park Tunnel – the first of the Government’s seven Roads of National Significance to be completed – form a motorway link which is helping people and freight move more efficiently and more safely through our biggest city.
"The Government is committed to providing a modern and efficient motorway network for Auckland that will help grow the economy, for the benefit of all New Zealanders.
"Our improvements to Auckland’s roading network are allowing companies big and small to move goods through the city more quickly and more efficiently."
Mr Brownlee says improvements to the Central Motorway Junction are only one part of the Government’s wider effort to improve the transport network in Auckland.
"Work is gathering momentum on the Waterview Connection project, the final link to complete the Western Ring Route, which has also been prioritised by the Government as a Road of National Significance.
"When the Western Ring Route is completed, this 48 kilometre-long motorway alternative will further ease pressure on State Highway 1, the Central Motorway Junction and the Auckland Harbour Bridge."