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Auckland metro milestone reached with tunnel box start

shutterstock 409918414 queen street auckland

Work on the City Rail Link (CRL) project in Auckland, New Zealand is reported to have taken a significant step forward with start of work on the construction of the first of the two rail tunnel boxes to be built under the heritage-listed Chief Post Office (CPO) building in lower Queen Street.

The CRL project involves construction of a 3.5km tunnel to connect two key stations in Auckland by 2024.

Concrete pours by contacting joint venture Downer Soletanche Bachy on contract C1 for the first base slab on the northbound tunnel below the building has got underway.

“We’ve been working for this moment since July 2016 – for the past 30 months or so, this is what we have been gearing up for,” said CRL chief executive Sean Sweeney. “That time has been a challenging one for our C1 contract in lower Queen Street and Britomart. Our teams have been working in some pretty demanding conditions, not only immediately adjacent to a live railway station but also excavating below sea level with the Waitemata Harbour only a few metres away. On top of that, some remarkable skill and innovation has been used to protect the CPO building so that we could get underneath it.”

Sweeney said there is still a lot of work to be done in this area before both the northbound and southbound tunnel boxes are completed later this year.

“Once we’ve finished, it will be possible to walk the first section of the City Rail Link from Britomart station to beneath Albert Street as far as Wyndham Street,” he said. “As for the CPO building, we are on track to reinstate and return it as part of the Britomart station in late 2020.”

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