Work resumes at Waterview Connection


Work has resumed at the Waterview Connection project site following this morning’s hazardous chemical spill at the worksite.

The Fire Service gave the all clear at midday for workers and residents in the area after neutralising the spill and containing any potential hazards. Work has resumed on site and workers have re-entered the tunnel to prepare to restart the tunnel boring machine.

The Well-Connected Alliance has worked with emergency services throughout the incident to contain any potential for harm to workers, residents or others in the vicinity of the project site. No workers were injured or required medical treatment.

The incident occurred at approximately 5:30am, when a drum of hydrochloric acid was accidentally pierced by a forklift, resulting in the chemical spilling onto the floor inside  the project’s hazardous substances storage building.   The area was immediately evacuated and the emergency services were called. Both the Fire Service and the project team initiated full emergency responses.

The acid is kept on site for the treatment of waste water from the tunnelling operation, and the spill occurred inside the project’s purpose built hazardous substances building. The spill was contained by a bund inside the building.

The Transport Agency will be carrying out a full internal investigation of the incident, alongside investigations by WorkSafe NZ.

NZ Transport Agency State Highways Manager for Auckland and Northland Tommy Parker said the agency’s top priority throughout the incident was the wellbeing of workers and residents.

Mr Parker said the agency apologised to local residents and others affected by the precautionary road closures and other measures put in place this morning, and thanked them for their patience and understanding throughout.

“We know that this has been a hard day for many people, and we apologise for the stress and inconvenience this incident will have caused.”

Mr Parker said while the agency was concerned by this morning’s incident, and would investigate it fully, the overall safety record on the Waterview Connection was excellent, with only five ‘lost time’ injuries recorded in over three million man hours worked on the project - four of which were related to muscle strains and sprains. 

For more information please contact:

Andy Knackstedt
Media Manager
NZ Transport Agency
T: 04 894 6285
M: 021 276 3222