The giant tunnel boring machine called Alice at Auckland’s Waterview Connection motorway project is at the centre of the workers’ initiative to raise money for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.
The NZ Transport Agency works to create transport solutions for all New Zealanders - from helping new drivers earn their licences, to leading safety campaigns to investing in public transport, state highways and local roads.
People will have a chance to have a “date” with Alice by bidding for tickets on the Trade Me website for the opportunity to visit the machine. Four separate auctions are planned, and the proceeds from them will be donated to the Red Cross Typhoon Haiyan appeal.
The NZ Transport Agency’s Highways Manager for Auckland, Tommy Parker, says the auction was an idea from the Waterview project’s workforce, which includes 10 from the Philippines.
“The devastation and suffering caused by Typhoon Haiyan has hit home with the project’s very multi-national team. One engineer had an agonising eight-day wait to find out if his family was safe in the Philippines, and another ‘s wife still has not heard from her parents and four brothers who are living in one of the worst-hit areas.”
Mr Parker says the four successful bidders on Trade Me will get a once-in-a-lifetime tour of the project, which is the largest roading and most challenging project ever undertaken in New Zealand. The tour will include a visit to Alice, who will then be well underground on the first leg of her two-year journey from Owairaka to Waterview and back. Ticket holders will be guided by internationally experienced tunnelling experts.
Waterview Connection workers have already donated several hundred dollars from their own pockets to the typhoon appeal, which is being matched dollar for dollar by the Well-Connected Alliance delivering the project to complete the Western Ring Route.
Mr Parker says the auctions for dates with Alice will close on Sunday 15 December.
“We hope people will generously support this worthwhile appeal – a date with Alice will make a perfect Christmas gift.”