WELLINGTON, June 11 (Xinhua) -- The Waterview Tunnel in New Zealand's largest city, Auckland, will open to traffic in early July, marking the biggest milestone in the city's transport network in more than half a century, said Transport Minister Simon Bridges on Sunday.
The 1.4 billion NZ dollars (1 billion U.S. dollars) Waterview Connection is New Zealand's biggest and most complex road project, including twin 2.4km-long three-lane tunnels, Bridges said in a release after Sunday's ceremonial opening.
"Once open, it will transform the way people and freight move around Auckland, and will represent the biggest change in travel patterns since the opening of the Auckland Harbor Bridge in 1959," Bridges said.
Sunday's ceremonial opening will be followed by public open days to allow people the chance to experience the tunnel up close before opening to traffic, he said.
"The Waterview Connection is New Zealand's largest ever road project and is a significant part of the strong investment the government is putting into Auckland," Bridges said, adding that this investment in the strategic motorway system will help support Auckland's increasing population and economic growth.
"It largely completes the Western Ring Route, a new 48km route linking the west of Auckland, Manukau (in the south), the city and the North Shore," he said.