Rob Roy Hotel arrives home early and safely


The NZ Transport Agency says one of Auckland's oldest pubs - the Rob Roy Hotel - has been returned safely to its original site opposite Victoria Park west of the city's CBD.

The heritage brick building was pulled and pushed 44 metres by a series of hydraulic jacks over the past two days and is now sitting on the site where it was built 125 years ago, except that is now resting  on the roof of the southern portal of the new Victoria Park tunnel.

The NZTA's State Highway's Manager for Auckland, Tommy Parker, says the hotel arrived home today several hours earlier than had been anticipated.

"The team involved in the operation capitalised on the fantastic start they had yesterday when they began the  shift, and the final push to get the Rob Roy back home  was completed at 2.20 this afternoon," he says.

Mr Parker says the NZTA and its partners on the Victoria Park Tunnel project will now refit the hotel's interior and restore water and electricity to the building.  It is due to be returned to the NZTA, the owners of the Rob Roy, in August.

Mr Parker says that next week the NZTA will be calling for expressions of interest for the future use of the hotel, and it is hoped it will continue to be a social meeting place for the community.  The area around the hotel will be landscaped as a plaza.

The hotel was shifted temporarily last year out of the way of the construction site for the tunnel.  Total cost of both moves was $2.5m.

"It's now back safely and the team behind the move have shown a lot of innovation and skill to preserve a heritage building that is important to Auckland and New Zealand," Mr Parker says.  "Brick buildings of this age were not built to be moved around a couple of times, and it's a really pleasing result that everyone can be proud of."

The Rob Roy Hotel, along with the Campbell Logan Free Kindergarten and a section of a popular walkway known as Jacobs Ladder, are three heritage sites that have been preserved and restored as part of the $340m Victoria Park Tunnel project.

The 450 metre long tunnel, which will carry three northbound lanes of State Highway One traffic through central Auckland, is one of the Government's seven Roads of National Significance.  It will ease congestion and improve travel times and safety on one of the busiest sections of the Auckland motorway network.

The NZTA says drivers will be able to start using the tunnel in November, three months ahead of schedule.  The entire project, which also includes widening the motorway through St Marys Bay and reconfiguring the existing Victoria Park viaduct to carry four southbound lanes of traffic, will be completed next March, two months early.

Mr Parker says the NZTA will be in a position to pass on the benefits of the project early because of a planned closure starting next month of the Wellington Street on-ramp, which will enable the on-ramp to be re-built and the approaches to the southern end of the tunnel completed.