Seg­ments set to roll

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

A fac­tory mak­ing the 2.4km con­crete twin tun­nels for the Water­view Con­nec­tion project is open and pro­duc­ing its first seg­ments.

The new fa­cil­ity in East Ta­maki is the most mod­ern pre-cast con­crete fac­tory in Aus­trala­sia and man­u­fac­tures to the mil­lime­tre, NZ Trans­port Agency man­ager Tommy Parker says.

‘‘Next to the tun­nels them­selves, the pre-cast fac­tory is prob­a­bly the Water­view Con­nec­tion pro ject’s most ex­cit­ing story.’’

Fac­tory staff will spend the next two years churn­ing out the 24,040 seg­ments that will be used to line the $1.4 bil­lion tun­nels.

The six-lane road will join the south­west­ern and north­west­ern mo­tor­ways to com­plete the city’s 48km Western Ring Route by 2017.

Tun­nelling is due to start in late Oc­to­ber when 180 rings should be ready with the dura­bil­ity and strength to last a cen­tury.

‘‘The tun­nel bor­ing ma­chine will stop ev­ery two me­tres while each ring of lin­ing seg­ment is in­stalled and grouted into place,’’ Mr Parker says. ‘‘The ma­chine then uses that ring to push off, to ex­ca­vate the next two me­tres of tun­nel.’’

Each ring is 14 me­tres wide and made of 10 seg­ments.

Nine of the seg­ments weigh 10.5 tonnes each and are locked to­gether with a 10th, smaller, key­stone.

The fac­tory’s plant is im­ported from the United States and its steel moulds are made and de­signed in France. Mr Parker says the 6000 square me­tre fa­cil­ity started pro­duc­ing in Au­gust.

‘‘It is cre­at­ing 70 new jobs, al­most all of which have been filled by peo­ple from the fac­tory’s neigh­bour­hood in Auck­land south,’’ he says.

‘‘And it will be a ma­jor con­sumer of lo­cally pro­duced ag­gre­gate and ce­ment over the next two years.’’

The fac­tory will also pro­duce cul­verts for the mo­tor­way tun­nels and 279 beams for new ramps at the Great North Rd mo­tor­way in­ter­change on State High­way 16. It is a part­ner­ship be­tween the tun­nel project’s Well-Con­nected Al­liance and Auck­land com­pany Wil­son Tun­nelling.

Dwarfed: NZTA man­ager Tommy Parker, Auck­land Mayor Len Brown and MP Jami-Lee Ross stand in­side the 14-me­tre wide tun­nel lin­ing.

Hole digger: Alice is the 10th big­gest ma­chine of its type world­wide.

Photo: SI­MON SMITH

In pro­duc­tion: This East Ta­maki fac­tory will pro­duce 40 con­crete rings for the Water­view Con­nec­tion project each week.

Go to auck­land­c­i­ty­har­bour news.co.nz and click on Lat­est Edi­tion to see a video of the Water­view Con­nec­tion

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