The NZ Transport Agency says the planned closure of a section of one of Auckland's key arterial roads to move a heavy segment of the Waterview Connection's giant tunnel boring machine has been postponed 24 hours.
The closure of Sandringham Road between Gifford and O’Donnell Avenues was scheduled to happen tonight, but will now go ahead tomorrow (Thursday, 25 July).
The Transport Agency says the move is being re-organised because of changes to the schedule for unloading the ship that brought the disassembled tunnel boring machine from China.
“We apologies for any inconvenience the change may cause, and we will shift this heavy piece of equipment as quickly and as safely as we can across Auckland so that any disruption is kept to a minimum,” says the Transport Agency’s acting Regional Highways Manager, Steve Mutton.
“It’s a big operation getting a hundred parts of the tunnel boring machine from the wharf to the construction site, but it is running smoothly and the 24 hour delay for this heavy shift is not affecting our timetable.”
The closure is necessary to enable a crane to lift steel plates into position over a culvert near the Wesley Community Centre and reinforce the road to take the extra weight. The Maioro Street southbound on-ramp to the Southwestern Motorway (State Highway 20) will also close tomorrow for the move. The closure will be in place between midnight and 5amm and there are detours.
Both Sandringham Road and the Maioro Street on-ramp will be closed again on Sunday night (28 July) when the second of the heaviest loads is transported to the Waterview Connection construction site.
The TBM, which is known as Alice, is the 10th biggest machine of its kind in the world and is custom-built to bore twin tunnels 2.4km long to connect the Northwestern (SH16) and Southwestern (SH20) motorways with three lanes of traffic in each direction.
Alice will be reassembled at the southern end of the Waterview Connection construction site to be ready to start tunnelling in late October.
The $1.4 billion Waterview Connection is the biggest of several Transport Agency projects underway or planned to complete the Western Ring Route – an alternative motorway for Auckland that will improve city and regional transport links as part of the Government’s roads of national significance programme to help economic growth. It is being built by the Well-Connected Alliance comprising the NZ Transport Agency, McConnell Dowell, Fletcher, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Obayashi, Beca, and Tonkin&Taylor.
If you have any questions about the TBM transport, please contact the Waterview Connection project’s 24-hour phone line: 0508 TUNNEL (88 66 35).