A huge tunnel boring machine named Alice goes underground.
When Alice set off in mid November on her mission to dig the first of the two 2.4k kilometre Waterview tunnels, the long held dream of linking the southern, western and north-western districts of Auckland really started to take shape.
A highway to provide an alternative link to bypass the central city has been on the planners’ drawing boards since at least the early 50s, and at that time the idea was depicted on planners’ conceptual drawings in sweeping concrete and asphalt designs, with just a handful of cars resembling rocket ships whizzing along generous-sized and almost deserted carriageways.
Times have changed, the motorway network for Auckland is mostly complete, car designers have dropped fins and added size, and the city’s need for the efficient movement of people and goods has grown hugely. Motorways are under increasing pressure to cope with today’s demand and tomorrow’s inevitable growth.
The Waterview connection on SH20 is a just one part, but a major one, of the Western Ring Route, which consists of a total of five different projects along SH20 and the Northwestern motorway, SH16. The Waterview Connection, with its projected completion date of 2017, will tend to feed more traffic on and off SH16, and these associated projects will be ready for it.
Measures to keep traffic flowing as well as possible during the works are being considered and implemented, for example the introduction last September of a T2 priority lane at Great North Road to the westbound OnRamp of SH16.
Throughout the contract period the Transport Agency and Auckland Transport have worked closely to co-ordinate ongoing public information and consultation programmes, and to ensure that motorway and city traffic systems and information networks provide up to date and accurate advice to drivers. And that specifically is the work of the JTOC – see the story here.
Work is currently underway on:
Great North Road Interchange
Just before the eastbound off-ramp sediment controls and an access track are being installed in preparation for widening the existing causeway.
Beside the westbound on-ramp a coastal revetment is being built to protect the widened embankment by Oakley Creek, and work is preparing for the shared path to be relocated to that area.
The reclamation process is continuing east towards the Causeway Bridge. Soil improvements continue too, with wick drains being installed. From next week preload fill will be brought to site and placed on top of the wick drains to load the ground and start the nine to 12-month accelerated settlement.
Traherne Island (south) and Rosebank Park Domain
The shared path is being relocated around the site access area and a working platform is being established.
Whau River Bridge
On the western side ground improvement work is progressing and a rock lining is being placed under the existing bridge. On the eastern side we are preparing to begin the installation of temporary steel staging, which will allow our team access to construct the widened bridge structure
Work has begun to establish a metal access track down to the western side of the Whau River Bridge.
For further information see these websites: