There was some great news on Thursday with City Rail Link announcing they’d made their first breakthrough, connecting the tunnels under Albert St to the ones built through the Commercial Bay site.
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.
Dropping a banner might not be quite as dramatic as a tunnel boring machine breaking through – that will come later as part of the main works – but is important none-the-less.
CRL also gave a few numbers on the Albert St trench to get to this point. It has involved:
- 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
A few more photos from their Facebook page.
They also say the next breakthrough will come early next year when the tunnels between Commercial Bay and Britomart are connected. After the last few years of building new foundations for the old Chief Post Office building, they’re now hard at work on excavating out the tunnels. More images here and here.
For all the challenges they seem to be having with contracting the next phases, at least there’s some good progress being made with these works.