Boring of the second tube on Auckland’s 3.45km long City Rail Link has begun following the 7.15m diameter Herrenknecht TBM’s launch on its drive from CRL’s Mt Eden site into the central city. Its first destination will be the underground station below Karangahape Road before a planned arrival next spring at the project’s Aotea site.
A single Alliance is delivering the main CRL works – the stations and tunnels. The successful bidder was the Link Alliance – Vinci Construction Grands Projets S.A.S., Downer NZ Ltd, Soletanche Bachy International NZ Limited, WSP Opus (NZ) Limited, AECOM New Zealand Limited and Tonkin + Taylor Limited.
“Fantastic teamwork by the TBM crew to get cracking today despite all that omicron could throw at us is a great achievement and something Aucklanders should rightly celebrate as we take a huge step towards completing CRL,” says Dr Sean Sweeney, Chief Executive of City Rail Link Ltd (CRL Ltd).
Dame Whina Cooper is operated by the Link Alliance – the six national and international infrastructure companies delivering CRL’s main tunnels, stations and rail systems contract – completed the first of the two CRL tunnels on the eve of last Christmas. Link Alliance Project Director, Francois Dudouit, says the TBM’s second drive will be just as challenging as the first.
“No matter how well you plan, things can always change,” Mr Dudouit says. “We learnt a lot from last year but constructing a bored tunnel is a unique and complex task bound to bring challenges, particularly when you’re working below a city. Importantly, our TBM crews are experts at successfully confronting obstacles – restricted working conditions because of covid or Auckland’s ground conditions – and getting the job done safely.
The TBM will complete its work at the southern end of the station being built at the Aotea site. Tunnels already built from Britomart connect with the northern end of the new station.
The travel impacts of a completed CRL will be huge. The $4.4bn, 3.45km long railway will make it easier for Aucklanders to reach the centre of their city. The entire rail network will operate more effectively, trains will be frequent, they will be longer with more seats, and journeys will be quicker.
City Rail Link City is planned to be completed late 2024, but City Rail Link Ltd is currently assessing the impact the Covid-19 pandemic is having on the project’s construction timetable and its costs.