Friday, September 03, 2010

Auckland carmageddon?

This weekend, Auckland is due for the worst traffic chaos ever and, as Mike Hosking said on TVNZ’s “Close Up” this evening, that’s saying something. Worst of all, it was planned.

There’s one main north/south route through Auckland, and that passes over Newmarket using the Newmarket Viaduct. When I say “’over”, I’m not kidding: It’s waaaaaaay up in the air—up to 20 metres (nearly 67 US feet) in places. Built in 1966, the viaduct is now at the end of its usable life (plus, it's not earthquake-ready…).

So for months work has been under way to build new southbound lanes, and that work is complete. Now, they need to move the cranes to the old southbound lanes so they can demolish them in order to build new northbound lanes.

Simple, right? Well, it apparently takes 36 hours to move the cranes. So, they’re closing the southbound lanes from 5pm tomorrow, Saturday, until 5am Monday. Aucklanders are being urged to stay home.

Even so, there’s horseracing on at the track nearest the viaduct. There’s a rugby match on. And, it’s Father’s Day weekend in New Zealand. And yet the main southbound link through Auckland will be closed. Chaos is predicted. Fortunately we have no plans that will require us to deal with that.

I have no idea who created the image above: It was re-Tweeted dozens of times (but I’ll certainly give credit if I ever find out). In a few short hours, we’ll see how prescient that map is.

Update 06 September 2010: "Aucklanders applauded for avoiding motorway", leading credence to the theory that all the scary words and dire predictions were intended to frighten Aucklanders off the roads. If so, it worked.

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