Setting sights on urban quality

The $340-million Victoria Park Tunnel upgrade of State Highway 1 in central Auckland, has been completed - with urban quality to the forefront.

The project, on one of seven Roads of National Significance identified by the Government, involved building a tunnel under Victoria Park and widening the motorway from the park to the Auckland Harbour Bridge to relieve traffic congestion.

Boffa Miskell was the urban design and landscape architecture sub-consultant to the Victoria Park Alliance, the consortium responsible for the construction.

“From our first involvement in 2005, when we completed the Urban Design and Landscape Framework for the Notice of Requirement, the NZTA was committed to achieving high social and environmental as well as engineering outcomes and integrating those opportunities into the project,” landscape architect Peter Whiting recalls.

The ‘cut and cover’ tunnel enabled Victoria Park’s open space to be retained and enhanced with a new Auckland City Council skate plaza located above the tunnel; improvements to views, safety and walking connections; more tree planting; and artworks embellishing motorway structures.

The public realm south of the park was also enhanced by realigning Franklin Road and narrowing Union Street to create the new Wai-atarau Plaza. The plaza was designed as a setting for the historic, relocated and restored Rob Roy Hotel - providing a new focal area adjacent to the Victoria Park Markets and visually connected to Victoria Park opposite.

Further north, a new walkway and cycle route was constructed beside the widened motorway to Point Erin, where a raised viewing area has opened up harbour views. A new footbridge, soon to open, will connect the walkway and the historic, newly restored Jacobs Ladder Stairway down the St Marys Bay cliffs to the Westhaven shoreline across the motorway.

We were was also responsible for the design and supervision of the landscape works along the motorway and associated roadways, including extensive planting, the textured ‘fish wall’ on Westhaven Drive and the transparent noise wall along St Marys Bay.

1 November 2012