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NZ’s City Rail Link makes strides with TBM

Tunnel boring machine

The star of the CRL project, the TBM is named after Dame Whina Cooper and has facilitated incredible progress for the project.

Its most recent breakthrough comes as the TBM broke through into the mined tunnel cavern at the Link Alliance Maungawhau (Mt Eden) Station construction site. This occurred only 85 m after the TBM was launched.

Unsurprisingly, before the TBM could advance significant strengthening and reinforcing works took place inside the tunnel cavern to not only ensure the safety of workers but also to guarantee the structural security of the cavern.

The works done ensured there was no possibility the ground above could move as the TBM broke through the tunnel.

Following the strengthening of the cavern structure, the TBM’s cutterhead demolished the wall into the mined tunnel and was briefly visible for the last time until it reaches Karanga a Hape (Karangahape) Station’s Mercury Lane site. The TBM is anticipated to arrive there sometime in winter 2022.

The TBM has been custom-made for the project, manufactured by German machinery company Herrenknecht in China before being shipped to begin its ground-breaking work. The three primary purposes of the TBM are to evacuate, line and remove the spoil for the new CRL tunnels.

Capable of travelling 32 m per day while excavating up to 1500 tonnes of spoil in a 24 hour period, the custom-made TBM is an innovative and transformative piece of technology that is vital to the success of the CRL project.

The CRL is New Zealand’s largest transport infrastructure project in the nation’s history and is continuing to expand.

The CRL is a 3.45 km twin-tunnel underground rail link up to 42 m below the Auckland city centre. The goal of the project is to transform the downtown Waitematā Station (Britomart) into a two-way through-station that better connects the city’s rail network.

The tunnels will connect Britomart with a re-developed Mt Eden station on the western line. Additionally, two new underground stations, Karanga a Hape and Aotea, will open up central city access.

To directly follow the TBM’s journey, click here.

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