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One Chance To See Tunnel Boring Machine Before It Heads Underground On Five-year Journey

Watercare’s Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) Hiwa-i-te-Rangi is on the cusp of her five-year journey to build New Zealand’s longest wastewater tunnel from Mangere to Grey Lynn. Before that journey begins, the first two sections of this 190-metre long machine and its 4.5metre cutterhead will be unveiled at Watercare’s Māngere construction site – the launch site for the $1.2 billion Central Interceptor project.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff will officially launch the tunnelling operation on Monday 14 December in front of dignitaries, media and industry. “At $1.2 billion dollars, this is the largest wastewater infrastructure project ever undertaken in New Zealand. It is a huge investment and will be critical to dramatically reducing wastewater overflows onto our beaches and into our harbours. It will leave a legacy of clean, safe, healthy waterways for our children and grandchildren to enjoy,” he says.

Hiwa-i-te-Rangi - which was named by local school children after a Matariki star – will begin tunnelling from Māngere in early 2021. At its deepest, the tunnel will be 110 metres under Auckland.

Central Interceptor Executive Programme Director Shayne Cunis says, “Excavation of the 32-metre-deep main shaft (wet well) where the TBM will be launched, is now complete. Excavation is also underway at two other shafts along the tunnel route and the first of the link sewers is underway at Haycock Avenue.” Seventeen above-ground construction sites will be developed along the tunnel route.

The TBM, which was manufactured over a ten-month period in the Herrenknecht AG factory in Schwanau, Germany, arrived at the Port of Auckland late last month. Piece by piece it was transported to Watercare’s Māngere construction site. Due to its size – once pieced together it will be 190 metres in length – it will not be fully assembled by contractor Ghella Abergeldie Joint Venture and Herrenknecht until it is launched underground.

Monday’s unveiling of the first two sections of the machine will reveal artwork from students at Mt Roskill Primary, May Road Primary and Hay Park Primary School. Their pictures adorn the front sections of the TBM.

“Hiwa-i-te-Rangi is named after one of the Matariki stars and means ‘vigorous of growth’. The artwork on the TBM coupled with the name gives the project a local flavour and creates a sense of community around a journey that will lead to cleaner waterways,” says Cunis.

Cunis says, having students vote for the name allowed them to connect with the project that will improve the wellbeing of our city for future generations.

Joining Mayor Phil Goff for the unveiling will be Chair of the Watercare Board Margaret Devlin, Watercare CEO Marlon Bridge, Auckland Central MP Chlöe Swarbrick, Councillors, the Italian Ambassador to New Zealand, Ghella Abergeldie Joint Venture staff, MP for New Lynn Deborah Russell and elected members of Auckland’s local boards.

Monday’s official ceremony at the Central Interceptor Mangere construction site commences at 1pm. Media are advised to wear long sleeve tops and trousers, sturdy closed-toe footwear, and arrive no later than 12.30pm.

© Scoop Media

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