The NZ Transport Agency and its partners on the Victoria Park Tunnel project "pulled" Auckland's oldest pub - the Rob Roy Hotel - the first 1.8 metres of its 44 metre-long journey back to its original site at 9.05am today.
The hotel's journey will take two days, and when it is completed the hotel will be on the exact site where it was built 125 years ago, except that now the location is on top of the southern portal to the Victoria Park Tunnel.
The return is a straight reversal of the move that was required last year to shift the hotel away from the tunnel construction site.
The NZTA's State Highways Manager for Auckland, Tommy Parker, says the Transport agency is committed to preserving what is important to the community.
"While the Victoria Park Tunnel is being built in the middle of Auckland, it is a project that has more to it than just concrete and steel," Mr Parker says.
The Rob Roy is being "pulled" for the first part of its journey by hydraulic jacks. The hydraulic jacking sledges will then be lifted by crane to the rear of the building so that it can be pushed the rest of the way.
The NZTA will continue to own the building, which will be refurbished as part of a plaza development around the old brick building. The NZTA will next week call for expressions of interest for a hospitality-type business on the ground floor.
The hotel's double move is costing around $2.5m. The cost of the Victoria Park Tunnel project is $230m.
The Victoria Park Tunnel project is the first of the Government's seven roads of national significance (RoNS), to start construction. It will support economic growth by reducing congestion, improving safety and journey times, and increasing the capacity of State Highway 1 between the Auckland Harbour Bridge and Newmarket, one of the country's busiest freight and business routes.
Last week, the NZTA announced that drivers can start using the 450 metre-long tunnel built for northbound traffic this November, three months earlier than planned. The entire project, including the widening of State Highway 1 through St Marys Bay and the reconfiguration of the existing Victoria Park viaduct to carry four southbound lanes of traffic, is due to be completed next March, two months ahead of schedule.