Connection on track
Progress on the Waterview Connection project is on target with the huge tunnel boring machine known as Alice proving effective.
The NZ Transport Agency’s Auckland highways manager Tommy Parker says Alice has just passed the 250 metre mark on the south-north journey from Owairaka to Waterview.
On the most productive day so far, Alice excavated 22 metres of tunnel, just over the length of a cricket pitch.
‘‘Alice went through a careful probation period while the team operating her familiarised itself with the systems and processes involved in a complex project of this size,’’ Mr Parker says.
‘‘After that cautious start, she has come up to speed and is now demonstrating what she’s capable of.’’
Mr Parker says the agency is confi- dent that the tunnel boring machine will reach Waterview in late September as scheduled, completing the project’s southbound tunnel.
From there she will be turned around and then launched southward to build the northbound tunnel.
The Waterview Connection project is New Zealand’s biggest ever road project. It will deliver a five-kilometre, sixlane motorway connection, half of which will be underground.
As well as completing the Western Ring Route, the Waterview Connection will provide a direct motorway link between the central business district and Auckland airport.
Construction is expected to be complete by the end of 2015 and the tunnels open to traffic in early 2017.