As New Zealand’s first underground rail line and the largest transport infrastructure investment ever undertaken in the country, the final tunnel advancement has been made on Auckland’s City Rail Link.
Following excavating twin 7.15m diameter tunnels up to 45m beneath New Zealand’s largest city, the TBM Dame Whina Cooper, named after the Maori rights campaigner, finished its drive at Te Waihorotiu Station. Linking to the nearly 1km of cut and cover tunnels constructed at the CBD end of the line, the total length of each dug tunnel is 3.45km.
While the duration of excavating the first tunnel was seven months, the second tunnel was completed five months after the TBM was relaunched in April this year.
According to Francois Dudouit, project director for the Link Alliance, the consortia of companies building the CRL: “The faster progress of the second tunnel reflected operational improvements and efficiency gains.”
“The tunneling was completed under the most challenging construction conditions. Building an underground rail network has never been attempted in New Zealand before. To have achieved what this team of 2,000 people have in the face of a global pandemic, multiple lockdowns, restricted Covid-working conditions, and multiple other challenges is nothing short of extraordinary,” said City Rail Link chief executive Dr. Sean Sweeney.
He also added: “These tunnels are the cornerstone of the country’s first rapid transit rail network and will enable a transformational change in our biggest city.”
The City Rail Link Ltd, Vinci Construction Grands Projets, Downer NZ, Soletanche Bachy International NZ, WSP NZ, Aecom New Zealand, and Tonkin + Taylor, are the subsets of Link Alliance.
Now tunnel boring is completed, the TBM will be dismantled and shipped back to Herrenknecht.