Faulty sprin­klers de­lay tun­nel open­ing


The coun­try’s big­gest ever road­ing project has been held up by faulty sprin­klers.

The $1.6 bil­lion Water­view Con­nec­tion won’t be com­pleted for at least two more months, al­though it was set to be opened in April.

And there will be no penalty pay­ments to hold any agen­cies ac­count­able for the blun­der.

The New Zealand Trans­port Agency’s Auck­land high­way man­ager, Brett Glid­don, said on Fri­day that set­ting up the tun­nel’s sys­tems was tak­ing longer than ex­pected.

There had been is­sues with its fire sprin­klers.

‘‘We have a del­uge sys­tem, and it’s got valves in it that let the wa­ter out, and we found some of those were stick­ing - they just weren’t open­ing prop­erly.

‘‘So we just had to change a part within them, and once you do that you’ve got to go back and check the sys­tem and make sure it’s all right,’’ Glid­don said.

‘‘There’s a cou­ple of hun­dred valves, they weren’t all stick­ing - there was only an in­ter­mit­tent is­sue with them - but we weren’t will­ing to take the risk.’’

He was adamant the fix was in­ex­pen­sive.

‘‘It’s ac­tu­ally only a small part and it’s not likely to be a huge cost.’’

The tun­nel’s ven­ti­la­tion sys­tem also wasn’t up to scratch.

‘‘We had a bit of an in­ter­mit­tent fault with the jet fans, where the com­mu­ni­ca­tion sys­tem wasn’t work­ing per­fectly, so we had to do a soft­ware change just to make sure it was work­ing 100 per cent.’’

‘‘While this work is tak­ing longer than we’d have liked, the Water­view Con­nec­tion has been in con­struc­tion for five years and short de­lays like this are not un­com­mon for a project of this size and com­plex­ity.’’

In 2016, Glid­don said 140,000 pots of paint, 4000 light bulbs and five Olympic-sized swim­ming pools of wa­ter had been used on the project.

He said peo­ple would not un­der­stand the sig­nif­i­cance of the project un­til they get the chance to drive through.

The 2.4km tun­nel and ring road will con­nect Auck­land’s north­west­ern and south­west­ern mo­tor­ways. It’s the last piece in the Western Ring Route puz­zle, which is ex­pected to re­duce in­nercity traf­fic.

It was now ex­pected to open ‘‘within the next two to three months,’’ depend­ing on test­ing and com­mis­sion­ing work.


This 2.4km tun­nel will con­nect two of Auck­land’s mo­tor­ways and is ex­pected to di­vert traf­fic away from the in­ner city.

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