Unless you’ve been living in a coal bunker (or Timaru) for the last few months, you’ll no doubt have heard of the Waterview Connection.

This new major arterial route has finally begun construction and Auckland Transport is calling it their largest, most challenging and most expensive project to date. Comprising 2.5km of tunnel, the project includes 4.8km of 6-lane motorway through and beneath the western suburbs of Avondale, Mount Roskill, Mount Albert and Waterview and it will link up State Highways 16 and 20 to create a motorway ring route around the city.

My feeling is that this is a good thing. Most of the project is a tunnel so the impact on the environment above ground will be negligible, journey times will improve and will it ease the pressure on State Highway 1. Best of all, it means the implementation of new walkways and cycleways along the reserves and creeks that line the route and improvements to the streams with the formation of features like weirs and pools to create a more enjoyable environment.

Some of these areas have become a little neglected – partly through not having certainty around the final route for the project – but my guess is that we will now start to see these areas improve. Property developers have already moved into areas like Avondale Heights and Mount Roskill in anticipation of these markets opening up.

You can get a stack of information about the project here and by calling the freephone number 0508 TUNNEL. This number is answered by a brilliant guy called Gez who will be able to answer any queries or concerns.