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Ask Phoebe: Victoria Park tunnel's lights all drivers need

By Phoebe Falconer

26 comments
Lit-up cars may have had headlights automatically triggered.

People may choose to switch on their headlights as an additional safety measure. Photo / Doug Sherring
People may choose to switch on their headlights as an additional safety measure. Photo / Doug Sherring

Every time I use the Victoria Park Tunnel in the daytime I notice drivers in front of me, to the side and behind turn their car lights on and then, a few seconds later, turn them off when emerging at the other end. Am I missing something - is there a rule, either local or nationally, that requires lights to be turned on? There is no notice at the entrance advising this action, and the tunnel is evenly lit its entire length and is not pitch black, which otherwise would make this lighting up necessary.
The first week it was opened someone from the trucking federation declared it to be a "long black tunnel", which was incorrect, so I wonder if that remark caused the practice, and it has continued.
John Webster, Takapuna.

As you note, Mr Webster, the Victoria Park Tunnel is well-lit, and the NZ Transport Agency says there is no bylaw that requires drivers to use headlights. People may choose to switch on their headlights as an additional safety measure, and some modern vehicles also have light sensors that operate automatically when entering an area of lower light levels, such as a tunnel. In tunnels elsewhere where there is no artificial lighting and it is darker, the law does require drivers to use their headlights.

A Herald photo of the big boring machine for the Waterview Connection tunnels has a sign on it saying Waka Kotahi. As far as I know this phrase just means "one vehicle". Are we to gather that this is the name of this digger? If so, can you please tell me who gave it this name and why it was chosen? Brian McDonnell, Auckland Central.
Waka Kotahi is the Maori name for the NZ Transport Agency, the Government body responsible for the construction of the Waterview Connection tunnels. While not a literal translation of NZTA, it does reflect the organisation's intent - a single organisation or vehicle delivering the best possible land transport system for New Zealand. The opportunity to name the Waterview Connection's Tunnel Boring Machine has been given to local school children and to the children of those directly involved in the delivery of the project. A competition will be run over the next few months to ensure "she" has a name by the time it arrives in NZ in July. Tradition has it that these sorts of machines are named after women.

Does Auckland Transport have any plan to remove the Newmarket roundabout bottleneck which is the cause of congestion during rush hours? It was constructed when Davis Cres was open to Khyber Pass and two lanes of traffic merged into Parnell Rd. Davis Cres has been closed for many years but the obstruction is still there.
All traffic is confined to a single lane to circumnavigate the flowerbeds resulting in long tail backs through Parnell and Newmarket with no advantage to road users or pedestrians.
John Billingsley, Parnell.

In a word, no. Not at this point, at least. Although Davis Cres is no longer connected through to Khyber Pass Rd, it does provide a connection to Carlton Gore Rd and therefore the intersection provides access to this area of Newmarket.

- NZ Herald

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