Giants of Tunnel Vision

This article discusses how a wealth of major road tunnel construction projects and significant intelligent transportation system (ITS) installations within existing key road tunnels have been recently completed or will soon be underway. This article examines some of them. A state-of-the art Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) - the 10th largest ever to be built worldwide will be put to work later this year on New Zealand Transport Agency’s landmark Waterview Connection project in Auckland. The giant Herrenknecht-manufactured machine will be used to construct the twin 2.5km-long tunnels for the $1.16 billion Waterview Connection that is said to be the largest transport construction project in New Zealand’s history and crucial to realizing the full benefits of Auckland’s motorway network. The recent handover of the TBM, which will have a top speed of 80mm a minute, or 0.0005km/h, was marked by an official signing at Guangzhou in south east China, where the German firm Herrenknecht has a factory. It follows 14 months of design, building and testing the huge machine, said to be tailored to meet the rare ground conditions it will encounter on the Waterview Connection works. The equivalent height of a three story building (14.5m) and length of a rugby field (97m), the TBM’s circular cutting head is painted black with a silver fern logo. The machine will be dismantled for shipment to New Zealand and is due to arrive in Auckland in eight pieces, collectively weighing 2,300 tons, in July before being reassembled at the project’s southern tunnel portal to begin tunneling in October 2013. The Waterview Connection is part of the Western Ring Route road of national significance and will join SH20 (Southwestern Motorway) and SH16 (Northwestern Motorway) to complete a 47km-long motorway alternative to SH1 and the Auckland Harbour Bridge.


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  • Accession Number: 01482881
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: May 31 2013 12:31PM