Wellington St On-Ramp Change Of Mind


The NZTA has deferred a decision on re-opening the Wellington Street on-ramp until after the Victoria Park Tunnel Project is completed next year. The on-ramp feeds central city traffic to the northbound lanes of SH1.

The on-ramp was due to re-open this month.

The NZTA’s State Highways Manager for Auckland and Northland, Tommy Parker, says the NZTA and Auckland Transport will jointly review how the Wellington Street on-ramp should operate in the future.

“The on-ramp has been closed twice during the tunnel project. During these closures our monitoring has shown that traffic has flowed more freely through the central motorway junction,” he says.

So for now, they have opted to continue the closure while only two of the Victoria Park tunnel’s three lanes are in operation.

“After next March, when drivers have adjusted to the third tunnel lane and new layout through St Marys Bay, we will have a clearer understanding of the benefits the Victoria Park Tunnel project delivers to the Auckland network, including CBD traffic patterns. We will undertake a six-month review of, the impacts and benefits and expect to announce a final decision about the on-ramp around the middle of next year. “

Mr Parker says the Agency understands that the on-ramp’s future will have an impact on the surrounding community and the NZTA and Auckland Transport are committed to keeping the community informed about the progress of that review as it develops.

“Opening the on-ramp now would create an extra lane feeding traffic into a tunnel that is currently not operating at its full capacity. “

“We need to complete the motorway improvements in St Marys Bay before we can open that third lane with any benefit to drivers. It is not in the best interest of drivers to open the third lane until that work is finished.”

VICTORIA PARK TUNNEL: Tunnel is open but not Wellington St on-ramp

Mr Parker says it was necessary to open two tunnel lanes now so that the NZTA could close the northbound lanes on the Victoria Park flyover and prepare them for southbound traffic in the New Year.

The tunnel’s third lane will be opened in March when construction to widen the motorway through St Marys Bay is finished, and the moveable lane barrier on the Auckland Harbour Bridge is extended to Fanshawe Street to improve peak hour traffic flows.

In the meantime the ramp provides access to the tunnel for emergency services and maintenance.





  1. Wasp says:

    This will surely be because Auckland drivers have been completely freaked out by the tunnel.

    I have on only one occasion gone through there at the speed limit, that is late at night. The last bend seems to cause blind panic and cars slow to 30 -40 k’s as if they are about to fall off a cliff.

    The subsequent traffic jams back to Ellerslie are becoming fairly annoying because fools can’t cope with change.

  2. Andrew says:

    Make it bus only!

    We’re going to have four southbound Vic Park Flyover lanes, of which 2 will be to Cook St/SH16 east and west - one lane can easily serve all this.

    Make the leftmost flyover lane a bus lane, make the Wellington St onramp bus only, and put a North Shore bus terminus somewhere around the Civic (say the current Bledisloe House carpark). Buses could go up the leftmost flyover lane, exit Cook St, then Mayoral Drive, then Queen St, then back out via Wellesley St, Albert St, Hobson St, then either Cook St or Union St to the Wellington St bus-only onramp.

    Why? Well they haven’t built that new onramp just to keep it closed. This would make better use of it than clogging it with cars. And the bottom half of Albert St is just not wide enough to cope with all the north and west buses that are currently crammed down it in the peaks.

    edit: clarified inbound / outbound trips.

  3. kris_b says:

    How do you suggest buses get from that on ramp, across 3 lanes of motorway traffic and onto the viaduct?

  4. Andrew says:

    @kris_b huh? where would they need to do that?

    Inbound trips would use the leftmost lane of the viaduct and the Cook St offramp.

    Outbound trips would use the Wellington St onramp and the tunnel.

  5. kris_b says:

    Right, was a little confusing.

  6. Gary Young says:

    The on-ramp should never have been rebuilt. Anyone who has to drive through here every day could have told the planners that.

    One wonders who it is that advises the designers and if they made any effort at all to examine the traffic flows before and after closure.

    I think the idea of making it bus only has merit but it should certainly remain permanently closed to cars and hang the expense and wasted money.

  7. Matt L says:

    I think there was merit in rebuilding it solely from the fact that that it gives a much more useful way for emergency vehicles to access the tunnel in the unfortunate event that something went wrong but I definitely don’t think it should reopen for general traffic.

  8. Russell says:

    How bloody ridiculous. Obviously those idiots who call themselves road engineers do not ever have to go from the city to the north shore during the rush hour period. They must be the same muppets who designed the join of the new Manukau extension to the Southern

  9. Patrick R says:

    This is sign of the enormous tension that has always existed on this badly planned highway. It is schizo; it doesn’t know if it is a freeway or a local route. Now mostly it muddles through trying to do both jobs, but as volumes grow this essential dysfunction becomes apparent.

    Please close Cook St off ramp and the Symonds St on ramp too NZTA. God if we could close Cook St as well we would largely get Freeman’s Bay back. And a whole lot of lovely and valuable innercity land.

    Ah if only the Muppet in charge let them put the whole thing underground we could put a lid on the vile thing and almost forget it was there…. sigh

  10. Patrick R says:

    And Andrew, no, all the North Shore Buses through Freeman’s Bay then the tunnel? Very poor idea.

    Off at Fanshaw and up Wellesley St.

  11. Swan says:

    Patrick R it is hardly “through” Freemans Bay. The residential area only really starts once over the motorway. I think the bus only idea has some potential, particularly to take the pressure off Fanshawe in the future.

    To me this whole project smacks of local residents having a massive say on the project. From the tunnel itself, to the pricey sound barriers (seen those anywhere else in Auckland, or anywhere for that matter?), to the rebuilding of Wellington St on ramp about 1k from Fanshawe.

  12. Patrick R says:

    Swan it is exactly through Freemans Bay… That separation you talk of only happened with the motorway and its attendant ‘slum clearance’. The city used to blur perfectly with its inner dormitory suburbs here, the commercial and the residential mixing like you see in any city that grows over time.

    Technically this is a phenomenon called ‘severance’ and is well know for the negative outcomes it causes on neighbourhoods, and quality of street and commercial life. The splitting of an area and funneling of all journeys into corridors breaks up connections, especially limiting walking and cycling, but also historical links and qualities of place. Look at all of those truncated streets like Beresford St. Auckland suffers from such an extreme example of severance that it seems people here find it natural. Surrounded on all landward sides by post war motorways through old inner city suburbs.

    The plan to underground the VP section in both directions not only meant getting our park back but also getting a broader connection at grade around the Rob Roy. All we have now is some new planting and paving and exactly that same amount of severance. Looking at the poor land use on the city side of this section of SH1 is a really good example of how destructive this infrastructure has been- and it can only be got away with where local vested interests are weak. But also it can seen how by removing the Cook St off ramp how the higher land values of the Drake St area would then be able to move up the hill….[council owns the Placemakers site] and it would be an important first step to burying more of the motorway.

    Yes you are right valuable private property has big influence, but these were poor areas when this ill-thought through road was put in. It could never happen now, just as the one through Remuera was stopped but any number are still contemplated for South Auckland.

  13. James B says:

    Great now I will have to drive through Ponsonby or the city to get to the Shore. There needs to be on ramps here or at Newton road to go north.

  14. Pete says:

    Good Grief!!
    Traffic planners…what an oxymoron.
    Are these guys making it up as they go along or what?

  15. Swan says:

    Well, I agree with you about cook St, getting rid of the off-ramp could make that corner of the CBD relatively car free. I have always found the road encircling the placemakers site to be one of the most bizarre roads in Auckland.

  16. Jon R says:

    “After next March, when drivers have adjusted to the third tunnel lane and new layout through St Marys Bay, we will have a clearer understanding of the benefits the Victoria Park Tunnel project delivers to the Auckland network, including CBD traffic patterns”

    So, all the business cases BCR´s and impact reviews have proven their weight in horse crap. Why is it roading projects are always so underwhelming in their results (at high a high cost), and rail projects (and the Busway) have proven excellent positive results?

    However, the National Party is totally in love with roads. Be great if they are just nudged out this weekend!

  17. Geoff says:

    They spent millions building it, now can’t decide whether to use it. Brilliant planning.

    I hope it reopens, as it was a very popular, well-used exit point from the city until it closed. It reduces lower CBD congestion, enabling people in the upper CBD to avoid driving down city streets to Fanshawe.

  18. rtc says:

    They should close off Wellington Street and Cook Street and K’Rd. NZTA has too much money if they can afford to rebuild whole onramps and then decide not to use them. Multiple commentators said time and time again that they should consider leaving Wellington Street shut.

  19. Wasp says:

    This is stunning given the problems of delays at this point of the motorway system with the previous layout.

    It started by joining the North Western along with a Port on ramp lane to a point on SH1 where there was no room.

    And under the problematic previous design the North Western and Ports lane caused mass hold ups at and around peak. This was made worse by Wellington St merging just past that.

    I would have thought that if Wellington St on ramp was replaced it would have its own lane but it never got one.

    At a cost of hundreds of millions we have a repeat of the old design only now its underground.

    This is the folly of motorways, they cost a fortune, take up acres of prime real estate in ugliness then someone tries to save money and it becomes a cluster.

    Yet there is a bottomless pit of funds!

  20. ingolfson says:

    “Good Grief!!
    Traffic planners…what an oxymoron.
    Are these guys making it up as they go along or what?”

    “They spent millions building it, now can’t decide whether to use it. Brilliant planning.”

    Lol, you lot obviously never heard of how politics works (i.e. human interaction and negotiation, rather than the politicians specifically), nor have you heard of conflicting requirements.

    The people mostly concerned with motorway flows would have loved to close the thing from day 1. But they weren’t allowed to raise the idea seriously, because our car mad city does not only demands cars to flow freely, but also for them to be able to come and go from everywhere they want, and damn the results.

    Now that in practice, it is closed, and works okay (or would work worse than if it was reopened), they smell the chance to keep it closed.

  21. Patrick R says:

    Fair enough Golfman, but did they need to rebuild it to goldplated standards while they were seeing how the network was coping?

    Still looks like a mode awash with more cash than cleverness….

    So, let’s build the CRL and see who’s right about it’s impacts…. [hint, it'll work better than these traffic engineers do]


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