Alice Snedden: An ode to the mighty Waterview Tunnel
OPINION: Two weeks ago Auckland got a new tunnel, and we lost our minds.
The city was abuzz with the news that the tunnel was up and running. A new long stretch of motorway that would cut your airport travel time in half! Or by just ten minutes if you insist on listening to the lamestream media and their "facts".
The tunnel, it's fair to say, was the biggest thing to happen to Auckland since we got the Sky Tower. If you can, cast your mind back to the late nineties when crop tops were all the rage and we finally got a tall building.
I remember when the Sky Tower was finished. I'd never been more excited by a column of concrete in my entire life and that was even with regular trips to the Civic car park where I would see loads of them. Witnessing that tall needle of concrete shoot up into the sky and become not just an entertainment complex with the country's best elevator, but also my greatest navigational tool, filled me with pride about our small country. We could do anything! As long as what you wanted us to do wasn't about having lots of people or money. Within reasonable limits, we could do anything!
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Auckland is a sophisticated metropolitan city, until a new store opens and then we're basically a village on a dirt road. We have never played it cool in our entire lives.
A much cooler city would have played hard to get with the tunnel and only interacted with it when you genuinely needed to go to the airport. Not Tamaki Makaurau. Thousands took the opportunity to do a walk-through of the tunnel, because everyone knows the best way to assess a new motorway is to see how it withstands a variety of gaits.
I didn't do a walk-through of the tunnel. Unlike the city that raised me, I know how to seem like a sophisticated urbanite who is not unaffected by my surroundings and still listens to records on vinyl. I mocked those around me (I was alone) and on my Facebook wall. Facebook posts about the tunnel were maybe the best thing the internet has ever given us, far and above democratisation of information. Every post was a fawning declaration of love in the style of announcing your first born, with an attached photo of the inside of the tunnel, "This is the Waterview Tunnel, she arrived this morning after five long years of labour. We're extremely proud. Mum is tired but doing OK. We can't wait for you to meet her."
It really was an embarrassing display of affection and came so quickly that it made me nervous. Like when a couple get together and after the first date change their Facebook status to "in a relationship" and make their profile picture one with each other in it. You just know they're going to break up. It's too fast. They're blinded by lust, or in the case of the tunnel, the potential for reduced travel time.
I immediately wanted to make fun of every person who was acting like the tunnel was the second coming. So I looked up some information about the tunnel in order draft my cutting take down. I was about to unleash my mighty pen, when I found out that the tunnel is 2.5km long and six lanes wide and I lost my mind. It took my breath away. 2.5km is so long. That's incredible. Where else in the country do we have a tunnel that big? It's so cool. I couldn't believe I'd missed the walk through. I cursed myself for not having had the wherewithal to take advantage of that once in a lifetime opportunity. What an idiot I had been.
I immediately got in the car and drove through the tunnel just for the sake of it. I can stay on the motorway the whole way to the airport!! This tunnel is honestly incredible. No disrespect to the Sky Tower, but you're expensive, and parking close to you is a nightmare. This tunnel is maybe the best thing we've ever done. It's underground, for goodness sake. Just think of the engineering that went into constructing this masterpiece, a beautiful example of what humans are capable of and I swear to God if I hear anyone say otherwise, I will lose it.
Sunday Star Times