The NZ Transport Agency's Victoria Park Tunnel Alliance team is leading a clean-up of the Waitemata Harbour at Westhaven this Wednesday night (16 February) by removing several large blocks of concrete from the sea which have been an annoyance for local residents and fishers for more than 30 years.
Removal of the blocks, which lie close to shore at a popular fishing spot near the Auckland Harbour Bridge, is being co-ordinated and partly funded by the NZTA’s Victoria Park Tunnel Alliance. Also contributing are Auckland Council and companies that supply goods and services to the tunnel project, including Auckland and Waikato Cranes, which is providing one of the country’s largest cranes for the lifting.
The NZTA’s State Highways Manager for Auckland and Northland, Tommy Parker, says all previous attempts to remove the concrete have been thwarted by the high cost and difficult logistics of the exercise.
“This is a great once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get the concrete out, using the expertise and machinery of the nearby Victoria Park Tunnel project team to clean up the environment for the benefit of all the project’s neighbours,” he says.
Mr Parker says that there are 10 blocks of concrete to be removed, believed to have been dumped in the harbour sometime in the 1970s. They each weigh between 10 and 24 tonnes, with the largest the furthest from the shore.
The recovery will get underway at approximately 8pm on Wednesday and will take most of the night. Lower Curran Street, including the Curran Street motorway on ramp, will be closed during the operation.
Waitemata local board member Greg Moyle says the recovery will clean up an area of shoreline that is used daily by hundreds of Aucklanders for walking, running, cycling and fishing. "This is a lasting legacy to our local community and the people of Auckland. It has only been possible due to the co-operation and support of the NZTA’s Victoria Park Tunnel Alliance and its suppliers."
Victoria Park Alliance suppliers contributing to the recovery are Auckland & Waikato Cranes, Fletchers Plant Yard, Andrews Civil, Resource Search Limited, Warren Fowler, Fortress Fasteners, D C Weld and Hirepool.
The Victoria Park Tunnel is one of seven roads of national significance identified by the Government as essential to New Zealand’s economic prosperity. It will be the first completed, in mid-2012. The motorway through St Marys Bay is being widened by one lane in each direction. This, together with the tunnel for three lanes of northbound traffic and reconfiguration of the existing viaduct for four southbound lanes, will remove the last remaining bottleneck on the motorway network through central Auckland.
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