Waterview Tunnel deemed 'success' despite massive traffic gridlock

Less than 24 hours after the long-awaited Waterview Tunnel was opened, the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) proudly claimed it as a success.

That's despite massive traffic blocking up every single lane early on Sunday afternoon.

"Well that didn't take long," user @LisaCNZ tweeted alongside a video showing how the traffic had backed up.

Marise Hurley compared to blockage to a "carpark".

"#slowjourney," she tweeted.

Traffic maps quickly highlighted the issue, showing in red how bad the congestion was.

The NZTA had tried to keep the opening date secret to avoid a massive influx of traffic, before it was officially opened overnight on Sunday.

But it's now proudly claimed the tunnel as a success.

"We're really pleased with how things have gone today, and while the tunnel has been very busy with first-time users, everything has been working to plan," Auckland Highway manager Brett Gliddon said in a statement.

"This amazing piece of infrastructure is going to be with us for a long time and if people can put their sightseeing on hold, it will help reduce congestion in the tunnel and the roads nearby."

The tunnel was not designed to remove "peak-time congestion altogether", the NZTA said.