Pics: Motorway Open,No Chaos


Auckland’s traffic chaos and “extreme delays” never happened.

NZTA workers gathered up the traffic cones blocking the motorway just before midday and re-opened the southern motorway just after midday.

Southbound traffic is now moving freely across the first half of the new Newmarket Viaduct.

The plan was to keep it closed for 36 hours and open at 5am tomorrow.

Tired but happy workers survey their work after a long night

The NZTA had expected the complex work needed to open the new viaduct would take longer.

However, the critical element of relocating the 800-tonne ‘Big Blue’ construction gantry was achieved without hitch overnight.

Only final paving work needed to be completed this morning.

The Big Blue construction gantry is now positioned between the north and southbound lanes and a reduced speed limit of 70 km/h applies in both directions in the area.

The eerie sight of no cars on one side of the motorway this morning

The next stage of the project will be the ‘deconstruction’ (dismantling) of the old southbound lanes and the opening of the fourth southbound lane to Greenlane.
Traffic flows around Auckland were estimated to be 50% below usual overnight.
Signs into Newmarket claimed there were severe delays and but there were none to be seen.

The signs also read: “Avoid Newmarket, Greenlane” which was unfair on retailers there - yet there was still parking to be found near the shops. Newmarket retailers said it was ‘deadly quiet.’

'Avoid Newmarket' said the sign. Why?

Trains were steady but not overly crowded this morning even though travel was free. During the afternoon there were special rugby trains to Eden Park.

But people were trying out the free trains - newbies were noticed trying to work out what to do and where to go at stations where there was no staff. It was good to overhear one stranger say onboard a southern line train to his companion:”I didn’t know public transport was so efficient!” There have been estimates Sunday train patronage numbers had jumped by five.

Newmarket station was steady but not packed

Grafton, near Newmarket, was oddly deserted everytime I checked

It was disappointing that the temporary timetables for today were not on display at most stations apart from Newmarket and Britomart.
In the wake of the ARTA and Veolia crackdown on train evasion, was I the only person who felt guilty today not paying on the trains?! There were reduced staff on board, some wardens, to assist passengers or open and close doors.




  1. Jimmy says:

    The trains may not have been overly crowded this morning, but it was a different story by the early afternoon. A few trains were running at reduced speed because they were over capacity, especially on Eastern Line services.

  2. Jon C says:

    @Jimmy Good to hear they were popular. That explains estimates of a 5 fold increase in Sunday patronage

  3. Nick R says:

    The Newmarket retailers association really should have been advertising it as ‘catch a train to Newmarket day’. They could have tied it in with the Museum etc. To think of all the people that might have experienced the pleasure of shopping without a street choked with traffic!

  4. Jeremy Harris says:

    I heard Cameron Brewer on the radio this week declaring NZ’s worst ever traffic jam was on the way… Opps…

  5. Joshua says:

    I think it shows allot of people listened to the NZTA, It was every quite in Auckland on Sunday.

  6. Simon says:

    Yeah Cameron Brewer who is usually onto it missed a beat from this I think. Rather than mouthing off about impending disaster he should have been announcing Newmarket special discounts for people showing their train tickets etc to retail staff. There could have been positive benefits from this. Unfortunately for him he chose to take the negative line. I`m not in the Orakei ward for the coming election but if I was it would have made me think twice about voting for him whereas in the past I think he`s been pretty good. Definitely a stain on him as far as I`m concerned.

  7. William M says:

    I have to say that perhaps the reduced staff aboard the trains weren’t exactly doing much. Whilst they didn’t have to collect fares, they are still there to guard the train. It seemed to me they sat back and enjoyed the trip whilst unruly teenagers etched diagrams of genitalia on the windows of our trains. ARTA (not NZTA mind), is paying for a bunch of youths to muddy up our trains so ARTA (not NZTA) can pay to fix them up. That was my only disappointment over the weekend.


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