Following the recent ceremonial ground-breaking for a 30 m deep trench needed for the construction of the project’s twin tunnels, an 85 m long tunnel boring machine (TBM) will be assembled before beginning excavation of the tunnels next year.
The 5 km Waterview Connection, including two 2.4 km tunnels between Owairaka and Waterview, will provide a new six lane motorway link between SH16 and SH20 to complete Auckland’s Western Ring Route.
It is New Zealand’s largest and most complex road project to date, and one of the seven Roads of National Significance identified as key to enabling economic growth for New Zealand.
NZTA State Highways Manager for Auckland and Northland Tommy Parker said when the southern approach trench was complete, the TBM would descend to 45 m beneath the surface, passing below hard volcanic rock and leaving intact the open space, communities and commercial precincts above.
“To create the launch pad for the machine, we first have to excavate through a significant chunk of this basalt to reach the softer soil conditions below, and that is the process we have officially begun today,” Mr Parker said.