Con­nec­tion on track

Central Leader - - NEWS - By KA­RINA ABA­DIA

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.

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