Inside the Waterview tunnel. Image courtesy of transportblog.co.nz.

Source: New Zealand Transport Agency – Final pre-cast concrete segment is poured for the Waterview tunnel

A purpose-built factory in East Tamaki, has cast the last of 24,000 segments which are being used to line the motorway tunnels for the NZ Transport Agency’s Waterview Connection project.

Brett Gliddon, the NZ Transport Agency’s Auckland State Highways Manager says now that the final pre-cast segment is completed, it marks another exciting milestone and real progress in the Waterview project.

“The linings have been a key component in the design and construction of the twin-tunnels and this factory has done a first rate job consistently delivering such a big quantity on time. This has made a significant contribution to keeping us well on target for the project to be completed in December 2016, and the planned opening to traffic in early 2017.”

The segments are delivered to the project site in Owairaka where the tunnel boring machine ‘Alice’ has been installing the segments at a rate of six linings every 24 hours that the TBM is operating.

The East Tamaki facility was built by a partnership between the tunnel project’s Well Connected Alliance and Wilson Tunnelling, using some of the most up to date concrete batching and moulding equipment.

“The linings for these tunnels have needed to be extremely precise with to-the-millimetre precision so they fit perfectly together inside the tunnels. They’re also incredibly strong, durable enough to withstand 100 years of traffic use,” says Mr Gliddon.

The remaining 65 workers at the factory have celebrated their achievement in completing the final segment with a special lunch today. The facility will now progress to a deconstruction phase.

With the skills developed at East Tamaki, many of those working there have been able to find new jobs in a booming construction industry, says the Alliance Project Manager John Burden.

“The team at the precast factory can be very proud of the job they have completed,” Mr Burden says.

“In addition to producing the tunnel segments on time and under budget, the team have worked hard with the local community to hire, train and develop a workforce that is now able to move on to higher skill jobs.  The skill development within the local community is something that I’m personally very pleased about.”

Key facts about the East Tamaki Pre-Cast Factory

Components produced:

  • 24,000 tunnel lining segments
  • 2,406 culvert units
  • 279 bridge beams

Materials used:

  • 95,000 cubic metres of concrete
  • 3,500 tonnes of conventional reinforcing
  • 4,500 tonnes of steel fibre reinforcing

Footage of the pre-cast factory and the casting process can be found on the following YouTube video

Each segment, weighing up to 10.5 tonne is one of 10 which make up 2,414 rings of concrete lining.  Each ring is 2 metres wide and 14 metres in diameter.

The Waterview Connection project interchange and tunnels will link the Northwestern and Southwestern Motorways to complete the Western Ring Route. It is planned to open to traffic in early 2017.

The Western Ring Route will be a 47-kilometre-long motorway between Albany on the North Shore and Manukau in the south. It will deliver several benefits for Auckland and the city’s regional neighbours. It will give drivers a second motorway choice to the Southern and Northern Motorways (SH1) through central Auckland, improve access to important commercial and residential destinations, reduce traffic on local roads, and provide better links for public transport and for people who walk and cycle.

The Waterview Connection is being delivered by the Well-Connected Alliance which includes the Transport Agency, Fletcher Construction, McConnell Dowell, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Beca Infrastructure, Tonkin & Taylor and Japanese construction company Obayashi Corporation.  Sub-alliance partners are Auckland-based Wilson Tunnelling and Spanish tunnel controls specialists SICE.

Key links:-
www.facebook.com.alicetbm
www.youtube.com/wcnow
http://www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/waterviewconnection

Selwyn Manning, BCS (Hons.) MCS (Hons.) is an investigative political journalist with 23 years media experience. He specializes in reportage and analysis of socioeconomics, politics, foreign affairs, and security/intelligence issues. Selwyn has extensive experience as a commentator and has provided live political analysis to a wide range of television and radio organizations broadcasting in New Zealand, Australia and globally including the BBC (Five Live, London) and BBC (World Service). He is currently a correspondent to Australia's FiveAA radio, and is a regular live-on-air panelist on Radio New Zealand's The Panel with broadcaster Jim Mora.