Spaghetti junction – 33 years in the making

The last elements of Auckland’s central motorway junction, known by all and sundry as spaghetti junction, will open this week.  This will mean that traffic wishing to move from one of the city’s motorways to another will no longer have to use local city roads to do so. With around 200,000 vehicles a day moving through the junction, this is a big deal, not just for drivers but those who live, walk and cycle on the streets of Auckland previously used to connect the motorways.

Not to be outdone, the capital will open its own controversial inner city bypass just after Christmas, to speed traffic from the airport to north of Wellington without clogging the streets of the CBD.  A good number of folks, including my friend and blogger Taniwha, photographed the Te Aro area before the bulldozers and concrete moved in.

photo: Taniwha

Call me naive but I am amazed that in this day and age, when the peak oil argument is highlighted by what Al Gore calls An Inconvenient Truth,
a socially progressive nation like NZ is still trying to road build it’s
way out of congestion and overcrowded streets while allowing popular
elements of its fragile rail infrastructure, like the Overlander, to wither on the vine for want of promotion and investment.

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2 Comments so far

  1. mark (unregistered) on December 19th, 2006 @ 10:54 am

    Good lord, I had no idea anywhere in New Zealand had enough cars to require a cloverleaf like that. Not that I thought it was all Hobbit-land but still, I thought the scale was a little smaller, or maybe that you guys were superior to Americans and didn’t do things like massive freeways. Sigh — another illusion shattered.

  2. bignoseduglyguy (unregistered) on December 19th, 2006 @ 12:42 pm


    There are no freeways as you’d know them in the US. The motorways in NZ are almost exclusively urban and suburban, built to facilitate commuting and, as in the case of SJ, cross-town traffic. Out of the cities and towns, the State Highway network is, more often than not, one lane each way with wider ‘passing’ sections every 10 kms, which allows faster through traffic to pass local rural vehicles and the like. You will find sections of two lane highway but they’re not so common here.

    For instance, the following two photos are of State Highway 1, the main North/South highway through the two islands, as it passes through the Rangipo Desert in the middle of the North island:

    These shots, on the South Island, are of State Highway 1 between Picton and Kiakoura; a main arterial route heading east from Christchurch and the tunnels on the Pacific Coast section of SH1 between Blenheim and Christchurch, South Island:

    While you won’t see Hobbitses much these days, most of the road atlases here now have overlays that show all the LOTR filming locations.

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