Big Alice reaches the half-way mark

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By KARINA ABADIA

The gi­ant tun­nel bor­ing ma­chine known as Alice has reached half­way on the first leg of the un­der­ground jour­ney at Auck­land’s Water­view Con­nec­tion project.

NZ Trans­port Agency act­ing high­ways man­ager Steve Mut­ton says Alice has been mak­ing ex­cel­lent progress since work re­sumed af­ter a two week main­te­nance shut­down in May.

The ma­chine is now 32.5 me­tres be­low the sur­face and has jour­neyed 1.2 kilo­me­tres.

Since tun­nelling from Owairaka to Water­view be­gan in Novem­ber, Alice has aver­aged around 14m a day ex­ca­vat­ing spoil and in­stalling the tun­nel’s con­crete lin­ing.

This means the first tun­nel is on tar­get to be com­pleted by late Septem­ber, he says.

The ma­chine has in­stalled 600 tun­nel lin­ing rings, each weigh­ing 100 tonnes and com­pris­ing 10 pre­cast re­in­forced con­crete seg­ments. It has also re­moved 197,000 cu­bic me­tres of spoil.

‘‘Alice has con­sumed $90,000 in power charges and $55,000 for wa­ter.

‘‘It’s an­other ex­am­ple of the com­plex­ity and size of this project,’’ Mr Mut­ton says.

Af­ter ar­riv­ing in Water­view the ma­chine will be turned around and re-launched on the south­bound jour­ney early next year, cre­at­ing the north­bound tun­nel as it goes.

Con­struc­tion of the two tun­nels will be com­pleted at the end of 2015.

They will in­clude ven­ti­la­tion fans, com­mu­ni­ca­tion sys­tems and fire pro­tec­tion.

Six­teen cross pas­sages, one ev­ery 150m, will con­nect the twin tun­nels.

The en­tire project, which in­cludes the mo­tor­way con­nec­tions on ei­ther end of the tun­nels, is due to open in early 2017.

Photo: HARPREET SINGH

Get­ting there: Alice the tun­nel bor­ing ma­chine has helped to cre­ate half of the first tun­nel con­nect­ing the south­west­ern and north­west­ern mo­tor­ways.

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