Our huge tunnel boring machine, Alice, has stopped approximately 500m into the tunnel so that a specialised gantry can be moved into the tunnel and commissioned. This gantry, which is almost as long as the TBM, will install the services culvert that will run beneath the motorway through the tunnel.
When Alice starts up again in late March, you will be able to track her progress here via an on-line tracker.
The Waterview Connection will deliver 5km of 6-lane motorway through and beneath Auckland’s western suburbs, linking State Highways 16 and 20 to complete the city’s Western Ring Route by 2017. This will provide a viable alternative for commuters, freight and through-traffic to State Highway 1, which runs through the city and over the Auckland Harbour Bridge and is regularly over capacity at peak times. It will also directly connect the International Airport and CBD, reducing travel times between the two points by over 15 minutes.
Half of this new motorway link will be tunneled. By undergrounding so much of it, the NZTA is able to deliver maximum regional and national benefits with minimum long-term footprint on the surrounding communities. This urban design-integrated approach is further highlighted by a suite of walking, cycling and landscaping improvements and the provision of additional recreational amenities around the above-ground elements of the new motorway.
Tunnelling will be carried out using a custom-built ‘Earth Pressure Balance Machine’ (EPBM), which will bore twin tunnels as deep as 45 metres beneath the surface, to pass below the hard-rock legacy of the region’s volcanic activity. At just over 14m in diameter, the machine will be the 10th biggest ever built globally, and will create Australasia’s largest ever tunnel.
Prioritised as a Road of National Significance (RoNS), the $1.4b Waterview Connection project underlines the NZ Government’s commitment to delivering economic growth through sustainable infrastructure development. To do this, the NZTA has appointed a specialist team, known as the Well-Connected Alliance, to manage its design, construction and operation.
Comprising NZTA, Fletcher Construction, McConnell Dowell Constructors, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Beca Infrastructure, Tonkin and Taylor, and Japanese construction company Obayashi Corporation - the Well-Connected Alliance brings together the knowledge and strong, home-grown reputation of leading New Zealand engineering companies with the world-class tunnelling expertise of its international partners.
The Well-Connected Alliance has formed further partnerships with New Zealand precast concrete suppliers Wilson Tunnelling and Spanish tunnel controls specialists SICE to manage the construction of the tunnel segments and longterm maintenance and operation.