Alice here and ready to roll
The giant machine known as Alice that will bore the tunnels for the Waterview Connection sailed into Auckland this week after its three-week voyage from China.
The tunnel boring machine berthed at the Ports of Auckland’s Waitemata terminal on board the BBC Georgia, a container ship chartered for the voyage.
The machine was dismantled for shipping and arrived like a giant meccano set, in 100 separate pieces, including 20 containers of small parts.
‘‘It’s a long-awaited and exciting arrival marking the next phase to complete the country’s biggest roading project,’’ NZ Transport Agency state highways manager for Auckland and Northland Tommy Parker says.
As the container ship berthed it was greeted by Ngati Whatua elders and a 14 metre diameter art work – the same size as the machine’s cutting head – that recognises both the cultural and future significance of the Waterview Connection.
Unloading the ship started immediately and it will take 10 days to transport all the parts to the project’s southern portal at Owairaka, where it will be reassembled.
Thirteen of the 100 loads will be over-sized and they will be moved at night to minimise disruption to other traffic.
All roads being used for transport will remain open with the exception of the Sandringham Rd extension and the Maioro St southbound motorway on-ramp on two nights, which will allow trucks to access the construction site via a specially built haul route from the Southwestern Motorway.
Alice is the 10th biggest machine of its kind in the world. It has been custom-built to bore twin tunnels 2.4 kilometres long and up to 45m deep to connect Auckland’s Northwestern (SH16) and Southwestern (SH20) motorways with three lanes of traffic in each direction.
billion Waterview Connection is the biggest of several Transport Agency projects under way or planned to complete the Western Ring Route – an alternative motorway for Auckland that will improve city and regional transport links as part of the Government’s roads of national significance programme to help economic growth.
It will take three months to reassemble the giant machine
Tunnelling is expected to start at the end of October.
Alice: The giant tunnel boring machine is in New Zealand.