Farewell to Alice - Waterview TBM Decommissioned
With the Waterview project 80% completed the target of the Well-Connected Alliance to complete its construction programme by December 2016, and the planned opening of the tunnels and Great North Road Interchange in early 2017 is on track.
Now that Alice, the Tunnel Boring Machine, has successfully emerged through the final section of tunnel she has been deconstructed and moved to the Ports of Auckland for shipping offshore. The Transport Agency’s Auckland Highway Manager, Brett Gliddon says “Alice was designed specifically for the size and conditions at Waterview and she isn’t suitable for any other projects in New Zealand. Her parts are being sold back to the German manufacturer.”
“Demobilising and removing the TBM and its supporting machinery safely and efficiently have been an important part of the tunnels’ construction that has continued well past the headlines of the tunnel breakthrough.”
A piece of machinery which was another example of world first innovation at Auckland’s Waterview Connection project has now also finished its job.
The final section of the culvert gantry has been removed from the tunnel it was helping to build, which marks the end of the process to demobilise the Tunnel Boring Machine.
The culvert gantry was responsible for installing a tunnel within the larger Waterview tunnels. It’s a concrete culvert which runs under the road surface of the main tunnel and will house all the services necessary to operate the tunnels safely.
Traditionally a culvert installation gantry is fixed to a TBM - but in a piece of innovation which has become a hallmark of the Waterview Connection, the tunnel construction team commissioned a self-propelled gantry separate to the TBM. It operated about 250 metres behind Alice the TBM.
“Separating the two allowed a lot more flexibility during the tunnelling operation. The independence meant that any delays to the work were minimal if there was any need to stop either the TBM or the gantry,” says Tunnel Construction Manager Chris Ashton.
“The Waterview Connection has consistently pushed the boundaries for finding ways of working more safely and efficiently,” says Brett Gliddon the Transport Agency’s Auckland Highway Manager.
“The culvert gantry has been a great success of the project and due to detailed planning and hard work the demobilisation has gone extremely well too, that’s a real credit to the tunnel team.”
Work is now well underway to fit the variety of services inside the culvert, including lighting, pump discharge pipelines, power cables, communication and control cables.
With the end of tunnelling, the focus in the tunnels is now the mechanical and electrical fit out. By the end of March, 160 people will be working in the tunnels. The fit out includes installation of lighting, CCTV cameras, signage, the deluge system and drainage.
Earlier this month another one of the key milestones for the year was completed when traffic was successfully diverted traffic on Great North Road – New Zealand’s busiest arterial - at the Waterview/North end of the project. This allows an 80m-long trench to be dug through the closed section of road for a vent to take exhaust fumes from the tunnels to the Northern Vent Stack that is being built alongside Great North Road.
The Waterview Connection completes Auckland’s Western Ring Route. The alternative to the SH1 Southern and Northern Motorways will be 47 kilometres long between Albany and Manukau. The Western Ring Route will improve city and regional transport connections, and is identified by the Government as a Road of National Significance because of its importance to New Zealand’s economy.
Great North Road Interchange bridges connecting SH20 and SH16
Article kindly supplied by The Well-Connected Alliance
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