Congratulations to the NZTA for coming up with a really unique way to raise some money for charity.

Waterview Xmas gift for Philippines typhoon victims

The giant tunnel boring machine called Alice at Auckland’s Waterview Connection motorway project is at the centre of the workers’ initiative to raise money for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

People will have a chance to have a “date” with Alice by bidding for tickets on the Trade Me website for the opportunity to visit the machine. Four separate auctions are planned, and the proceeds from them will be donated to the Red Cross Typhoon Haiyan appeal.

The NZ Transport Agency’s Highways Manager for Auckland, Tommy Parker, says the auction was an idea from the Waterview project’s workforce, which includes 10 from the Philippines.

“The devastation and suffering caused by Typhoon Haiyan has hit home with the project’s very multi-national team. One engineer had an agonising eight-day wait to find out if his family was safe in the Philippines, and another ‘s wife still has not heard from her parents and four brothers who are living in one of the worst-hit areas.”

Mr Parker says the four successful bidders on Trade Me will get a once-in-a-lifetime tour of the project, which is the largest roading and most challenging project ever undertaken in New Zealand. The tour will include a visit to Alice, who will then be well underground on the first leg of her two-year journey from Owairaka to Waterview and back. Ticket holders will be guided by internationally experienced tunnelling experts.

Waterview Connection workers have already donated several hundred dollars from their own pockets to the typhoon appeal, which is being matched dollar for dollar by the Well-Connected Alliance delivering the project to complete the Western Ring Route.

Mr Parker says the auctions for dates with Alice will close on Sunday 15 December.

“We hope people will generously support this worthwhile appeal – a date with Alice will make a perfect Christmas gift.”

I doubt there are many times anywhere in the world where a member of the general public would have the opportunity to tour a live tunnelling machine.

The auctions can be found here.

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21 comments

  1. Im wondering if the winner will be required to go through a 2 day health and safety training course before being taken underground.

      1. Before the course starts, you have to go through a safety induction, telling you where the safety exits and toilets are during the course.

        [But seriously, nice idea for a charity auction – even if I still think a visit to the TBM doing the CRL would be 7.2 times cooler.]

      2. I’m certain they wont have to do a full course as they wont be working there but on a supervised trip. There is a huge difference between the two. As for H&S being boring, tell that to the families whose partners, husbands, wives, etc didn’t come home or came home with a disability. Deaths and severe injures amongst workers in NZ is far more prevalent in NZ than most developed countries.

        1. Sorry for teasing your profession Bryce – if people can make fun of traffic engineers, I guess sometimes we can make fun of H&S, I hope. No offense intended!

          1. I went back and re-read the comment and it sums up NZ’s attitude to H&S. I see what you’re trying to do but it’s not funny in the slightest.

        1. What tunnel is this you refer to that is currently being excavated by a TBM that you can freely go and explore here in auckland?

          1. Sorry, I was under the impression that the new electric trains you were referring to were going to start taking passengers next year?

          2. Are you referring to the watercare tunnel out west matt that has open days every so often? My understanding was that it was completed a few decades ago and not using a TBM.

          3. Electric trains don’t start till April. I don’t see what your problem is with someone suggesting that AT could auction some rides for charity on one before then.

          4. Well, SF, then in the same understanding, you can drive through the Waterview Tunnel in 2017, no need to see it right now then. But i really do not understand what you have against any ideas for a charity action.

  2. I find it somewhat ironical that the NZTA thinks that auctioning an opportunity to inspect a machine being used in the making of a vehicular traffic tunnel that, inter alia, will add to New Zealand’s growing traffic-sourced carbon emissions is a suitable way of raising funds for the victims of an event that has been linked to climate change by no less authority than the Philippine government. It’s pretty much on a par with the braying MPs of the National party decrying any link between extreme weather events and AGW. Actually, I don’t find it ironical; I think it’s a cynical PR exercise.

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