A piece of machinery which was another example of world first innovation at Auckland’s Waterview Connection project has now finished its job.
The final section of the culvert gantry has been removed from the tunnel it was helping to build, which marks the end of the process to demobilise the Tunnel Boring Machine.
The culvert gantry was responsible for installing a tunnel within the larger Waterview tunnels. It’s a concrete culvert which runs under the road surface of the main tunnel and will house all the services necessary to operate the tunnels safely.
Traditionally a culvert installation gantry is fixed to a TBM - but in a piece of innovation which has become a hallmark of the Waterview Connection, the tunnel construction team commissioned a self-propelled gantry separate to the TBM. It operated about 250 metres behind Alice the TBM.
“Separating the two allowed a lot more flexibility during the tunnelling operation. The independence meant that any delays to the work were minimal if there was any need to stop either the TBM or the gantry,” says Tunnel Construction Manager Chris Ashton.
“The Waterview Connection has consistently pushed the boundaries for finding ways of working more safely and efficiently,” says Brett Gliddon the Transport Agency’s Auckland Highway Manager.
Work is now well underway to fit the variety of services inside the culvert, including lighting, pump discharge pipelines, power cables, communication and control cables.
“Demobilising and removing the TBM and its supporting machinery safely and efficiently have been an important part of the tunnels’ construction that has continued well past the headlines of the tunnel breakthrough.”
“The culvert gantry has been a great success of the project and due to detailed planning and hard work the demobilisation has gone extremely well too, that’s a real credit to the tunnel team.”
The Waterview Connection, which includes construction of the motorway-to-motorway Great North Road Interchange, is due to be opened in early 2017.
The Waterview Connection completes Auckland’s Western Ring Route. The alternative to the SH1 Southern and Northern Motorways will be 47 kilometres long between Albany and Manukau. The Western Ring Route will improve city and regional transport connections, and is identified by the Government as a Road of National Significance because of its importance to New Zealand’s economy.