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Breakthrough in City Rail Link tunnel construction

City Rail Link (CRL) celebrated a major milestone today with the breakthrough from the Albert Street tunnels to CRL tunnels across the Commercial Bay site, Downtown Auckland.

Mayor Phil Goff says, “With the Albert Street trench excavation complete we are one step closer to delivering Auckland’s first underground rail line.

“The CRL is the most significant infrastructure project in New Zealand. When complete it will carry more than 50,000 passengers during peak hours and completely transform how we move about our city.

“The CRL will not only change the way we travel through Auckland’s central city, it will significantly enhance the efficiency of our entire public transport network, freeing-up our streets from bus congestion and delivering more efficient and frequent train services across the city.

“We are transforming Auckland. Changing the way we live, move and play. It’s good for the city and great for its people,” says Mayor Goff.

CRL’s CEO Dr Sean Sweeney, say, “The City Rail Link is a city-shaping project that will completely transform the way people move around the city.

“Today’s milestone is an exciting step that brings us closer to delivering the project’s many benefits for Auckland.

“While there has been some recent media focus on the financial issue with one contract, it’s business as usual with CRL and today’s breakthrough proves we’re on track and making great progress.”

Dr Sweeney added that the nature of this project has made today’s milestone even more significant.



“It’s fair to say that getting to this point has not been without its challenges. This is the largest transport project ever undertaken in New Zealand and building it within the middle of a built-up city is no small task.

“The nature of the excavation, the tight confines and the location all make building this project extremely complex and I’m delighted with the progress we have made to date.”

The breakthrough itself has been a gradual process over the past month that has required a staged approach to excavation, construction of shotcrete support between piles, and demolition of temporary concrete piles separating the two sites.


The tunnels between the two sites, meet under the Customs Street traffic deck which was built last year to keep traffic moving while the work is carried out underneath.

Dr Sweeney says now the CRLL contractor Connectus the McConnell Dowell and Downer Joint Venture team can complete the construction of the remaining third of the tunnel box and backfilling of the trench will continue until it is completely covered – expected to be mid-2019.

Early next year the tunnels from the former CPO (Britomart) site will also connect to tunnels across the Commercial Bay site – providing a complete tunnel section from Britomart through to Wyndham St.

“This project continues to progress and take shape at pace and we’re thrilled that Aucklanders are starting to see the outputs of all the hard work that is going on right underneath their city,” says Dr Sweeney.

A snapshot of the Albert Street Trench in numbers:

· 846,000 hours worked to date

· 360 piles installed

· 155 steel struts

· 250 services relocated

· 50,000m3 of backfill to complete the trench

· 10,000m3 of tunnel box concrete

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