The first of more than 360 roof sections of the Victoria Park Tunnel have been placed into position, less than two months after the tunnel construction began.
The five roof beams, each weighing approximately 30 tonnes, were lifted into place on Thursday night [27 May] on a 10 metre section of tunnel that will run beneath Victoria Park and Beaumont Street before emerging as part of the Fanshawe Street on-ramp for the Northern Motorway [State Highway 1].
The NZ Transport Agency’s $340 million Victoria Park Tunnel construction project in central Auckland is one of seven Roads of National Significance prioritised by the Government to drive economic growth. The Victoria Park Tunnel is the first to start construction, and it is due to be completed in mid-2012.
“Getting the roof beams into place, despite the appalling weather last night, is a significant milestone for a project that will address the last big bottleneck on Auckland’s motorway network between Newmarket and the harbour bridge,” says the NZTA’s State Highways Manager for Auckland, Tommy Parker.
The beams are part of a 450-metre-long cut-and-cover tunnel for three lanes of northbound traffic. The project also includes additional motorway lanes in each direction through St Marys Bay, and the existing four-lane Victoria Park Viaduct will be reconfigured to carry southbound traffic.
“Anyone driving through central Auckland cannot help but notice that the construction is in full swing,” Mr Parker says. “The concentration of cranes, drilling rigs, excavators and trucks within the 1.2 hectares of Victoria Park we occupy is probably the most intensive we have seen.”
Mr Parker says it is important that people continue to be aware of speed restrictions and some reduced lane widths, and to drive with care through the construction zone to ensure their own safety and the safety of the project workers.