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Ask Phoebe: Safety concerns lead to tunnel restrictions

By Phoebe Falconer

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Construction work at the Waterview connection. Photo / Doug Sherring
Construction work at the Waterview connection. Photo / Doug Sherring

When heading north on Great North Rd, will you be able to enter the Waterview tunnel to head south? No planned on/off ramp seems to allow this. David Boshier, Auckland.

Providing access to the tunnels from Great North Rd was investigated during the early design stages of the Waterview Connection project, but the NZ Transport Agency says it was rejected because of concerns about safety and merging traffic.

The tunnels will connect the Northwestern and Southwestern motorways to complete the Western Ring Route - a 47km-long motorway alternative to SH1 and the Auckland Harbour Bridge. Construction has started on the interchange that will link the two motorways and benefit drivers to and from the south, northwest and CBD.

People driving north on Great North Rd will be able to access the southbound tunnel by joining the Northwestern Motorway (SH16) at either St Lukes or Patiki Rd.

What is happening with the old Mt Roskill Borough Council chambers situated on the corner of Mt Albert Rd and Mt Eden Rd?

To my knowledge, the building was vacated two or three years ago when a toxic type of mould was discovered and it has stood idle since then. Presumably it is still owned by Auckland Council. Bruce Kay, Epsom.

The building has not been forgotten, but like so many things, it all comes down to money.

In its Progress and Achievements Report November 2010-June 2013, the Puketapapa Local Board says that it is pushing for heritage protection for the old council chambers, and has made submissions to Auckland Council over this matter.

As well, a petition to the council to preserve the building is being driven by the Mt Roskill-Puketapapa Historical Society.

The foundation stone for the Mt Roskill Municipal Chambers was laid in 1956, with the building finished in 1957, then added to over the years.

The fungus found in the building, Stachybotrys chartarum, is also known as black mould.

It grows in buildings with chronic water damage or serious leaks, and can produce toxins. The same mould was found in many of the buildings affected by Auckland's leaky home crisis, and exposure to it can be associated with upper respiratory tract infection, coughs and asthmatic symptoms.

On the left of the northwestern motorway heading north before Spaghetti Junction, just as you take the exit to go north there is what looks like an onramp for service vehicles. At around 7.30am each day there are two or three roadworks trucks parked on the ramp facing the motorway and road workers milling around the trucks. What are they doing? Nick Mossman, Auckland, and Reuben Pollock, Auckland.

As a safeguard for drivers, the NZ Transport Agency stations a safety control team near the Northwestern Motorway exit to the northbound lanes of SH1 and the Victoria Park Tunnel during the morning peak.

The team is there to respond rapidly to any incident, particularly in the nearby tunnel, that may affect people's safety and the flow of traffic.

The police have a similar team based near the harbour bridge during the morning and afternoon peaks.

- NZ Herald

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