Gi­ant gantry takes on worker’s name

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By KARINA ABADIA

First there was Alice the gi­ant tun­nel-bor­ing ma­chine, now meet Den­nis the huge, yel­low gantry crane.

The lift­ing mech­a­nism, which will be a fea­ture of the Water­view Con­nec­tion Project for the next two years, has been painted yel­low in recog­ni­tion of a worker who died of cancer last year.

Den­nis Wer­ata, 33, started work­ing on the Water­view Con­nec­tion Project in De­cem­ber 2012 as a steel fixer and builder. Well-Con­nected Al­liance project man­ager John Bur­den says Mr Wer­ata was a great guy who died too young.

‘‘By nam­ing the gantry af­ter him we can ac­knowl­edge his life for his work­mates and also for his whanau.’’

Wal­ter Nathan is a fore­man on the project and knew Den­nis well. ‘‘He was a hard-work­ing per­son and very fam­i­ly­ori­en­tated.

‘‘He’d help you out with any­thing, give you the shirt off his back if you needed it.’’

The colour of the gantry recog­nises the part­ner­ship be­tween the Well-Con­nected Al­liance and the Cancer Society Auck­land.

Al­liance in­te­gra­tion and re­la­tion­ships di­rec­tor Andrew Rose says it’s all part of the al­liance’s goal to cre­ate bet­ter work­ing lives for its staff. Cancer Society chief ex­ec­u­tive John Loof is pleased with the part­ner­ship.

‘‘It not only pro­files our work in the com­mu­nity but also helps to raise aware­ness for a very real is­sue faced by many, cancer,’’ he says.

Den­nis the gantry is 98 me­tres long, weighs about 140 tonnes and was de­signed and built in Italy specif­i­cally for the project.

It is be­ing used to con­struct the mas­sive in­ter­change to join the north­west­ern and south­west­ern mo­tor­ways at the north­ern end of the project. It will act as a sup­port by plac­ing enor­mous con­crete beams on to the col­umns that will form the four-ramp in­ter­change.

Mo­torists will use the ramps to drive be­tween the north­west­ern mo­tor­way and the new Water­view tun­nels when com­pleted in 2017.

Night clo­sures are sched­uled for midMarch, and will af­fect traf­fic leav­ing Great North Rd head­ing west.

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