Tun­nel closer as borer now at sea

Central Leader - - NEWS -

The world’s 10th largest tun­nel bor­ing ma­chine is on its way to Auck­land to con­struct the Water­view Con­nec­tion twin tun­nels.

The ma­chine left Guangzhou in south-east China last week and is due to ar­rive in Auck­land in the next 10 days.

Be­cause of its size the ma­chine has been bro­ken down into 97 sep­a­rate pieces of cargo, in­clud­ing 20 con­tain­ers of small parts.

It will be re-as­sem­bled at the bot­tom of a 30m-deep trench in Owairaka be­fore bor­ing of the two 2.4km-long Water­view mo­tor­way tun­nels starts at the end of Oc­to­ber.

The Water­view Con­nec­tion will link the North­west­ern (State High­way 16) and South­west­ern ( SH20) mo­tor­ways to com­plete the Western Ring Route.

New Zealand Trans­port Agency Auck­land and North­land state high­ways man­ager Tommy Parker says, at $1.4 bil­lion, the job is the big­gest sin­gle road­ing pro­ject ever un­der­taken by the agency and will re­move Auck­land’s re­liance on a sin­gle mo­tor­way cor­ri­dor, State High­way 1 and the Auck­land Har­bour Bridge.

‘‘We are plan­ning to have traf­fic us­ing the tun­nels by the end of 2016,’’ he says.

When the ma­chine has landed it will be trucked to Owairaka over 10 days.

Some of the 97 loads will be over­size and will be moved through city streets at night to keep dis­rup­tion to a min­i­mum.

The ma­chine will be re-as­sem­bled in­side the mo­tor­way trench.

It is the largest ma­chine ever built for use in Aus­trala­sia and has been de­signed specif­i­cally for the area’s ge­ol­ogy.

How­ever, the tun­nel bor­ing ma­chine still needs a name. Tun­nellers’ su­per­sti­tion de­mands that such ma­chines are given a woman’s name be­fore tun­nelling be­gins.

Peo­ple are be­ing asked to choose from four pos­si­ble names short-listed from more than 500 put for­ward by Auck­land pri­mary school chil­dren.

Go to stuff.co.nz and click on the busi­ness page to vote.

The win­ning name will be an­nounced on Fri­day.

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