I was just thinking about various developments that have happened recently around the Waterview Connection route – in particular the new alignment announced in December, and the use of the ‘call-in’ process announced a couple of days ago, and a few questions came to mind.

  1. How can basically what was said to cost $2.77 billion now cost $1.4 billion?
  2. What will happen if the board of inquiry/environment court turns down the application? Or will we see special measures to ensure such a thing doesn’t happen (remembering that Auckland City Council effectively declined NZTA’s designation application for its part of the Mangere Bridge duplication project, so these things happen).
  3. What really made NZTA switch away from the alignment they announced in May, and back towards what is effectively the previous option? Was it because mitigation costs were getting out of control?
  4. Will the latest alignment be constructed with a “tunnel boring machine” or a “road-header“? The original alignment was to use the TBM, the May 2009 alignment a roadheader (because they cost around $10 million rather than $150 million to purchase). Roadheaders aren’t particularly viable on long tunnels because they’re very very slow.
  5. Why isn’t there a connection between State Highway 20 and Great North Road?
  6. Will there be any significant reductions in traffic along Great North Road once the motorway is built?
  7. If NZTA spent six years working out that a bored tunnel was the best option, how can it really be believed that the latest route change was because they had learned more about the area’s geology recently? I mean how many geological studies of the area can there be?
  8. Why didn’t NZTA and the government hold fire with the May 2009 announcement of a route change when they hadn’t completed all the necessary geological work (which seems to have only recently been finished)?

The first question’s the big one though. The numbers just don’t make sense.

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  1. The numbers at Q1 make sense if you did not believe the BS they gave to justify doing away with the tunnels.
    While i did not agree with the length of tunnels in labours plan, the plan was better than the number of houses now needing to be destroyed.

  2. Are TBMs general purpose, or specialised according to very specific rock conditions? Because I can think of plenty of other tunnels that could be dug if we had a few. We’d be building tunnels like the Swiss do, if I had anything to do with it.

  3. I think TBMs are pretty general, although they do eventually wear out. I agree it would be pretty handy having one in Auckland though. I’d certainly be able to find some good uses for it!

  4. I agree, I have said to people for a while now we should just buy some TBM’s and just keep digging. We can just change one of the lines from Finding Nemo as a catchy tagline for it 😉

    In saying this we could buy 4 road headers and start on at each end of each tunnel, it would be cheaper and probably take about the same time seeing as TBMs can only drill one hole at a time. Also is there a difference in the size of the TBM needed, this may make a road header more viable i.e. a TBM for this would need to be much bigger than one needed for a rail tunnel.

  5. Buy two then after waterview just drop one at Britomart and pick it up at Takapuna and the other at Glen Innes and pick it up at Manukau…

  6. I doubt it, it would cause to much distruption to the city plus would be so deep in places it would take months just to dig out one section. Just look at how long New Lynn is taking and that isn’t anywhere near as deep or long plus is mostly clay so has to be easier than the rock through town

  7. No connection was proposed at Great North Road because that would have meant the tunnell under New North rd and the rail line coming up earlier and taking up a lot more houses for all the on/off ramps.

  8. As far as I know most if not all the CBD Tunnel will be bored, as it is quite deep in places.

    Lindsey, I mean why aren’t there ramps linking SH20 with Great North Road at the location of the existing Waterview interchange. People living in Waterview will actually find the new connection quite useless. I am not necessarily advocating for them, I just find it odd those ramps have not been suggesed.

  9. Jarb’s I agree, someone living in the area will either have to get on SH16 and travel to either Rosebank Rd or Western Springs, turn around and come back again to get on. I would rather they took a few extra houses and did the job right the first time

  10. Don’t know much about the Waterview end. The answer I gave was the one Transit gave us when we were considering responses to the earlier proposals.

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