Alice, the giant tunnel boring machine excavating the motorway tunnels on Auckland’s Waterview Connection project, now has a partner to help complete New Zealand’s largest roading project.
The partner’s name is Dennis, a yellow launching gantry being used to construct the massive interchange to join the Northwestern and Southwestern motorways at the northern end of the project.
The NZ Transport Agency’s Regional Highway Manager, Tommy Parker, says besides its construction work, Dennis has another important role to play.
“He’s been named by project workers in honour of a workmate who died last year from cancer and is painted yellow to promote the work of the Cancer Society – the charity supported by the Well-Connected Alliance constructing the tunnels.
“We hope Dennis will become a beacon of hope for cancer sufferers and their families, and a reminder to the rest of us of the valuable work done by the Cancer Society,” Mr Parker says.
Dennis – 98 metres long and weighing about 140 tonnes - will be the most publicly visible feature of the Waterview Connection project over the next three years. It is similar, but smaller, than the blue gantry used recently to construct the replacement viaduct at Newmarket on Auckland’s Southern Motorway (SH1)
Mr Parker says the gantry’s work will be a project within a project.
“The four interchange ramps to connect the two motorways involve the construction of 1.7km of bridge structures.
“It requires placing 270 precast concrete beams, each up to 37 metres long and weighing up to 65 tonnes, to create the 53 spans for the four ramps. The spans will, in turn, support the deck structures.”
“The first ramp being built will take westbound traffic from the Northwestern Motorway to the southbound tunnel – this is one people will use when travelling from central Auckland to the airport,” Mr Parker said.
The gantry was designed and built in Italy specifically for the Waterview project. It was chosen over conventional bridge construction methods to minimise impacts on adjacent archaeological areas and traffic flows.
Dennis began work two weeks ago and will become more visible over the next two weeks when it moves out over Great North Road.
It will also switch from day to night shifts with closures on the road directly below the lifting mechanism. The first closures are scheduled for mid-March, and will affect traffic only leaving Great North Road to go west.
“Using this method of construction will minimise disruption to traffic. While it is essential for public safety reasons to have no traffic below a heavy concrete beam being lifted into position, traffic can continue to flow normally under the non-lifting parts of the gantry,” Mr Parker says.”
Ongoing information about road closures relating to the gantry’s operation will be provided on the Transport Agency’s travel information webpage for the Western Ring Route: www.nzta.govt.nz/stayconnected.
The Waterview Connection is one of five projects to complete the Western Ring Route as an alternative motorway to SH1 through central Auckland and the Auckland Harbour Bridge. It is prioritised by the Government as one of its Roads of National Significance because of the contribution it will make to New Zealand’s prosperity by underpinning economic growth and sustainable development for Auckland and its regional neighbours.
The project’s tunnels will each carry three motorway lanes, up to 45 metres below the suburbs of Avondale and Waterview and are due to open in early 2017.
For more information please contact:
Auckland/Northland Media Manager
NZ Transport Agency
T: 09 928 8720
M: 027 213 7616
Communication Advisor, Waterview Connection
T: 027 230 2566