Segments set to roll
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.
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