Traffic is about to be squeezed on one of Auckland's busiest routes - Great North Rd through Waterview - as motorway builders prepare for a huge tunnelling operation.
Although the Transport Agency's Waterview motorway project partners do not expect serious disruption, they have been using electronic displays to warn drivers of possible extra delays from today on a road which carries more than 50,000 vehicles a day.
Its two lanes in each direction will be narrowed from 3.5m to 3m to enable the removal of 96 houses along Great North Rd and streets around Waterview Reserve, which is to be reconfigured at the northern end of future motorway tunnels from Owairaka.
A project spokesman said the road would not be restored to its full width until the end of the project in 2017, and although tunnelling would take place under rather than through it, sections would have to be realigned from late 2014 to ensure traffic did not pass over a 100m-long and 15m-wide boring machine.
Herdman St in Waterview will also be closed to through traffic from today, putting extra pressure on other routes to Great North Rd. Transport Agency contractors will take advantage of the school holidays which began on Friday to erect noise walls between Waterview Primary School and houses to be demolished or moved.
Children from the suburb's kindergarten beside Great North Rd have been moved to new premises next to the school in Oakley Ave, to make way for the $2 billion Waterview project, stretching between Mt Roskill and Te Atatu.
* Final substantial link in Auckland's 48km western ring route.
* Completion - 2017
* Cost - $2 billion.