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Alice ready for first winter underground

Alice ready for first winter underground

Tunnelling has resumed at Auckland’s Waterview Connection project after the completion of maintenance work on the giant tunnel boring machine, Alice.

Alice stopped earlier this month so steel fibre brushes associated with the installation of the tunnel lining could be replaced. At that stage, she was about 40m below the surface and had travelled 870m, about a third of her 2.4km journey to construct the first of the twin motorway tunnels that will connect Auckland’s Northwestern and Southwestern motorways.

“It made sense for Alice to take a breather now, replace the worn brushes that have done their job, and have the machine ready for the winter. The maintenance is complete and she’s restarted her underground journey,” says the NZ Transport Agency’s acting Highway Manager, Steve Mutton.

Mr Mutton says the machine will construct up to 24m of tunnel per day as she works her way towards the northern tunnel portal at Waterview.

“She is expected to arrive in late September and be turned around over the following three months, ready to start her return drive to Owairaka in early 2015.”

During the maintenance break, work has continued behind Alice to install a large culvert on the floor of the tunnel. This ‘tunnel within the tunnel’ will run below the completed motorway and will carry the cables for the ventilation, communication, fire detection and lighting systems required to operate the tunnels after they open to traffic in early 2017.

Each tunnel will carry three lanes of motorway traffic. They are part of Auckland’s Western Ring Route, one of the Government’s flagship Roads Of National Significance (RONS).

When completed, the Western Ring Route will be a 47 kilometre-long motorway between Albany on the North Shore, around the top of the Waitemata Harbour, and Manukau in the city’s south.

The Waterview Connection project is being delivered by the Well-Connected Alliance which includes the Transport Agency, Fletcher Construction, McConnell Dowell, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Beca Infrastructure, Tonkin & Taylor and Japanese construction company Obayashi Corporation. Sub-alliance partners are Auckland-based Wilson Tunnelling and Spanish tunnel controls specialists SICE.


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