City Rail Link

CRL Media Releases


Below are the latest news releases issued 2018-2017.

Earlier CRL-related releases from the AT CRL Project Team, New Zealand Government and Auckland Council can be read here.

City Rail Link tender process ramps up

11 October 2018

New Zealand’s largest-ever transport project is one step closer as the City Rail Link (CRL) reaches another important milestone in its procurement programme.

The Interim Project Alliance Agreement (IPAA) for the delivery of the project’s underground rail systems (C7) has been awarded to a joint venture between RCR Tomlinson Limited and its design partners WSP Opus – together known as the Systems Integration, Testing and Commissioning (SITC) Alliance.

City Rail Link Limited’s CEO Sean Sweeney says this marks a major milestone for a project that will deliver significant benefits for Auckland.

“The joint venture brings with it a wealth of experience both here and overseas and once again shows the calibre of talent wanting to be part of delivering this important project that will transform the way people move and live in Auckland.

“The City Rail Link is the key that will unlock Auckland’s public transport network and we are thrilled that today’s announcement brings it one step closer to fruition,” he says.

The C7 contract will deliver all of the underground rail systems for the entirety of the project including rail tracks, signalling, overhead lines, control systems and room fit-out, communications and building works.

Mr Sweeney says that reaching this milestone today reinforces that the project is on track to be delivered by 2024.

“Last month we issued the Request for Proposal for our main stations and tunnels contract (C3), today we have awarded the IPAA for our underground rail systems contract (C7) and we are also now more than 90% complete on the Albert Street trench excavation (C2).

“This project remains on schedule to be in place delivering many benefits for Auckland in 2024, and we want people to be excited that the major gamechanger in Auckland’s public transport is well on its way,” he says.

When it is in place, the CRL will provide the equivalent of 16 extra lanes of traffic into the city centre in the peak period. The iconic Britomart Transport Centre will be transformed from a dead end one-way station into a two-way through station so more trains can get in and out of the city.

It includes 3.45kms of new dedicated underground railway that will connect with other rail lines to benefit the Auckland’s entire rail network.

Significant urban development outcomes will also be delivered with two new stations near Aotea Square and Karangahape Road as well as redeveloped stations Mt Eden and Britomart.

Mr Sweeney says the CRL will provide Auckland with the modern underground rail system that people expect of the world’s best cities.

“This project is a one of a kind for Auckland and it will provide the kind of frequency and reliability that will encourage people to leave their cars at home, easing the pressure on the roads for those who need to use them,” he says.

The joint venture will now work with CRL, Auckland Transport and KiwiRail to develop an Alliance proposal and if it is successful it will then enter in a Project Alliance Agreement with CRL.

The Project Alliance Agreement is expected to be awarded by May 2019.

City Rail Link milestone reached in Albert Street construction

09 October 2018

The re-instatement of Albert Street is one step closer as the City Rail Link (CRL) reaches another significant delivery milestone.

Today, the project started the backfilling of the trench which runs directly underneath Auckland’s busy Albert Street.


City Rail Link CEO, Sean Sweeney, says the milestone marks the start of the last stage of the Albert Street works needed before the road can be re-instated and returned to road users and pedestrians – expected late 2020.

“Anyone who has walked, cycled or driven past the Albert Street site over the last three years will have seen just how much work is underway to get this complete.”

“The team has been working very hard to get to this point relocating services, piling, supporting and diverting utilities, bulk excavation and constructing the tunnel box itself,” he says. 

Backfilling of the trench will take until mid-2019 to complete and a total of 50,000m3 of materials will be used to fill it. That’s the equivalent of 20 Olympic-size swimming pools.

The material will be a mixture of crushed concrete, crushed rock, sand and flowable fill.

People using Albert Street will see an excavator sitting on the construction deck moving materials down onto the roof. The project team will then use small diggers to spread the backfill within the trench.

Mr Sweeney said that the project was grateful for the support of those who work on, live on and travel along Albert Street.

“Building New Zealand’s largest transport project in the middle of a built-up city is no small task and it is not without its impacts.”

“We’re grateful for the patience and understanding of our neighbours as we work to complete the project as quickly as possible,” he says.

The Albert Street works are being completed by Connectus - the McConnell Dowell and Downer Joint Venture delivering the C2 contract.

Last week, the project marked another major milestone on the C1 contract in Queen St with tunnel excavation at Britomart (the former Chief Post Office building) now proceeding at full steam.

The contractors working on that contract, Downer NZ and Soletanche Bachy JV, completed the weight transfer of the 106-year-old Category 1-listed heritage building onto a series of underpinning frames, which will protect it from damage while City Rail Link infrastructure is built underneath. 

What’s next for Albert Street

·       Mid-November 2018, excavation completed

·       Christmas 2018, start of the construction of the tunnel box under Customs St intersection

·       Early 2019, Albert St trench connection to Commercial Bay

·       Mid 2019, trench backfilling completed

·       Late 2020, road re-instatement and streetscape works complete

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City Rail Link wins award for setting sustainability benchmark

23 August 2018

New Zealand’s largest transport construction project, Auckland’s City Rail Link (CRL) has been judged the leader in delivering sustainable infrastructure.

Last night the project won the 2018 Deloitte Energy Excellence Award’s Large Energy User Initiative of the Year. This is for outstanding energy-related initiatives that have delivered significant benefits, carried out by large energy users.

 The CRL is a 3.45km twin-tunnel underground rail link up to 42 metres below Auckland city centre transforming the downtown Britomart Transport Centre into a two-way through-station that better connects the Auckland rail network.

The project has established a carbon foot printing programme on its first two contract packages to identify opportunities and actions for reducing energy emissions. CRLL has been working in collaboration with its construction partners Downer NZ and Soletanche Bachy JV and Connectus (McConnell Dowell and Downer JV) to deliver significant carbon savings.

From replacing diesel generators with grid-connected transformers to training haulage drivers in fuel-efficient techniques, CRL’s initiatives are expected to reduce energy emissions by over 2,000 tonnes – a 29% reduction. The  project is on target to achieve its goals, while also reducing costs and saving time.

CRL’s CEO, Dr Sean Sweeney, says sustainability is a cornerstone of CRL thinking where the aim amongst everyone involved is to build the project without using unnecessary resources.

“The CRL will ultimately deliver a sustainable transport option and we want to make sure we are sustainable during its delivery. Our sustainability story also includes social outcome initiatives like providing employment and training opportunities for young people not already in jobs and addressing the construction skill shortage.”

Jointly funded by the Government and Auckland Council, the CRL is on track to be completed in 2024.

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Full steam ahead on CRL expansion

26 July 2018

Joint statement from  Hon Phil Twyford, Minister for Transport and Phil Goff, Mayor of Auckland

Auckland Council and Government today agreed to future proof the City Rail Link and expand station sizes to cater for rocketing growth in rail patronage across Auckland.

The agreement to increase investment in the CRL means the tendering process can now consider work such as widening tunnel sizes, lengthening platforms at new rail stations to cater for nine carriage trains (rather than six), a second entrance for the Karangahape Road station and other associated station work.

The increased scope in the CRL has been agreed as a result of new estimates that predict that CRL stations need to cope with the capacity of 54,000 passengers an hour at peak rather than the original estimates of 36,000.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said, “The growth in rail travel is a success story for Auckland. Every passenger commuting to work by train is one less car on the road during peak hour travel.

“Last year we achieved the milestone of 20 million passenger trips a year, four years ahead of schedule.

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“The growth in popularity of rail travel in Auckland required council to take the decision today to increase our investment in the CRL and expand new rail stations to cater for the huge number of people who will be commuting by rail in the next ten years.

“Getting the work done now while CRL is still under construction will avoid retrofitting the system which would double the cost and require the tunnels to be closed for two years for widening within a decade of it being opened,” Phil Goff said.

Transport Minister Phil Twyford said increasing investment would ensure that when CRL opens in 2024 Aucklanders get a modern and efficient rail service that benefits the entire transport network for decades to come.

“A decade of under investment in transport infrastructure has bought Auckland to a near standstill.

“Today’s decision has allowed us to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past when within 10 yearsof opening the Auckland Harbour Bridge it had to be expanded from four lanes to eight,” said Phil Twyford.

Auckland Council’s Governing Body voted overwhelmingly to expand the scope of work to cater for increased capacity requirements of the CRL. The Cabinet approved this yesterday.

Costs associated with expanding the scope of work for CRL are confidential while the tender process to procure the work is underway. Exact costs will be known more precisely early next year once tenders are received.

City Rail Link costs are shared equally between Government and Auckland Council.

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City Rail Link starts Britomart tunnel excavation

24 July 2018

Today, City Rail Link (CRL) started excavating the 14-metre-deep trench that will contain the project’s twin rail tunnels under Britomart Station and Lower Queen Street in downtown Auckland.

The excavation follows two years of careful preparation work to protect Britomart Station’s historic Chief Post Office (CPO) building and support the ground before the trenching and tunnel construction begin.

CRL contractor Downer-Soletanche Bachy Joint Venture (DSBJV) will start by removing a five-metre layer of ground from Lower Queen Street. This will lower the ground level sufficiently to allow excavators to start digging under the CPO building from Lower Queen Street.

A single 25-metre-wide trench will be excavated in Lower Queen Street and two 10-metre-wide trenches under the CPO (the two future CRL platforms will be located on the far sides of the station).

DBSJV is also completing the weight transfer of the 106-year-old Category 1-listed heritage building onto a series of underpinning frames, which will protect it from damage while CRL infrastructure is built underneath.

CRL tunnel box construction is expected to start at this location at the end of this year, once the trench excavation reaches the required 14-metre depth, and be finished in mid-2019. After this time, the trench will be backfilled, Lower Queen Street reinstated and the CPO rebuilt with basement and ground floor levels.

City Rail Link Limited’s Chief Executive Officer, Sean Sweeney, says: “The start of trench excavation on Lower Queen Street marks a significant point in the construction process. It takes us a step closer to building the CRL rail tunnels at Britomart Station and connecting them with the tunnels being built within the Commercial Bay development.”

CRL is the largest infrastructure project ever to be undertaken in New Zealand. The 3.45km double-track underground rail line will run from Britomart Station, through Auckland’s CBD via new stations at Albert Street and Karangahape Road and connect with the existing Western Line at a redeveloped Mt Eden Station.

Jointly funded by the Government and Auckland Council, the CRL is on track to be completed in 2024.

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City Rail Link project a finalist in 2018 Energy Excellence Awards

03 July 2018

New Zealand’s biggest transport infrastructure project, Auckland’s City Rail Link (CRL), is a finalist in the ‘Large Energy-User Initiative of the Year’ category of the Deloitte Energy Excellence Awards 2018.

The awards provide an annual opportunity to recognise excellence and achievement across the energy sector. 

CRL’s award entry focused on work undertaken to reduce energy-related construction emissions on the construction contracts let so far, including the overall process for carbon footprinting the project.

CRL CEO, Dr Sean Sweeney, says the intention is to set the benchmark for delivering sustainable infrastructure in New Zealand.

He said the aim is to build the 3.45km twin-tunnel underground rail link under the city centre creating the least possible waste, using minimal resources, and choosing the right methods.

“Embedding sustainability within the thinking of the CRL management team and our contractors has been key to our current success in this area,” said Dr Sweeney.

As part of the wider sustainability programme, CRL designers and contractors have undertaken a number of initiatives aimed at minimising energy related GHG emissions during both construction and over the whole life of the operations.

The finalists are listed here and the winners will be announced on 22 August.

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CRLL announces the delivery of Contract 3 in a competitive alliance

19 June 2018

In June 2017 the then Finance Minister, Steven Joyce, and Transport Minister, Simon Bridges, signed agreements with Auckland Mayor Phil Goff establishing City Rail Link Limited (CRLL) as a new company owned jointly by central and local Government.

CRLL is responsible for delivering the City Rail Link (CRL), New Zealand’s first underground rail system that will help shape the future development of Auckland and unlock development opportunities across the city and beyond.

Contract one was to build the train tunnels under Britomart station and Lower Queen Street. Contract two is the construction of cut and cover tunnels up Albert Street from Customs Street to Wyndham Street. Both contracts are being delivered by CRLL as design and construct projects.

On 19 June 2018 CRLL announced the delivery of contract 3 in a competitive alliance with two bidders. The tender process for the alliance will start later this year.

“Delivering the project in an alliance makes good business sense,” said interim CEO John Williamson. “It’s a model that is widely used particularly for large scale projects in the delivery stage, and that’s where we are now”.

Mr Williamson said it CRLL is committed to delivering value for money. “An alliance provides best value, delivery efficiency and effective management of quality and risk on this hugely significant national infrastructure project,” continued Mr Williamson.

Mr Williamson said there may be changes to the structure and staffing requirements of CRLL resulting from the move to the delivery phase and into an alliance.

“A project of this magnitude goes through many phases and requires different expertise as it progresses. And while there may be no change for most people, some roles may move to the alliance partner organisation and a small number of roles may be disestablished due to contracts coming to an end, the requirements of the new alliance model, and the staffing requirements for the delivery phase,” said Mr Williamson.

“CRL will help shape the future of Auckland and everyone in the team can be proud of their contribution,” continued Mr Williamson.

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City Rail Link Limited announces appointment of a new chief executive


06 June 2018

City Rail Link Limited has today announced the appointment of a new chief executive, Sean Sweeney, a New Zealander currently working in Australia.

Dr Sweeney, an engineer with a PhD in construction economics from the University of Melbourne, will take up the position on the 2nd of July.

He replaces the former CEO Chris Meale who retired in March.

John Williamson has been the interim CEO during the recruitment process.

After graduating in engineering from the University of Auckland, Dr Sweeney spent seven years working on the development of Te Papa in Wellington before heading overseas to work in the USA and Europe and then settling in Australia.

In Australia, he delivered a programme of major public infrastructure in Victoria and ran a top tier Australian construction firm. More recently he established and implemented a $2.5bn prison construction programme for New South Wales.

City Rail Link Ltd board chair Sir Brian Roche, said Dr Sweeney brings a wealth of relevant and current experience to the position as well as a strong academic background which will put the CRL project in a great position as it heads towards the delivery of major contracts.

Dr Sweeney says he is really looking forward to returning home to lead delivery of New Zealand’s biggest infrastructure project.

"My experiences of living in Melbourne and Sydney have shown me how absolutely vital major transport infrastructure investment is”, says Dr Sweeney. “And in a city experiencing enormous growth, this infrastructure investment is of vital importance to Auckland. It  supports the ongoing economic development of the city and meets the ever growing demand for public transport”.

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Tender Delay

20 February 2018

The release of tender documents for the City Rail Link tunnels and stations will be delayed by up to three months following the withdrawal of a preferred bidder from the process.

CRL chief executive Chris Meale says while the withdrawal is disappointing it won’t prevent progress on the CRL tender and discussions have already started with another prospective bidder.

“We are fortunate that the initial line-up of eight bidders for the project was exceptional and it was a hard choice to determine the top two."

Mr Meale said one of them made its own commercial decision to withdraw this week.  “While we are naturally disappointed, we are moving on.”

It is too early to tell if the three-month delay will roll on into the current project completion date of early 2024.

Contract awarded for City Rail Link Mt Eden works

 20 December 2017

A further contract for the City Rail Link and the first for the southern end of the project has been awarded.

The contract for stormwater diversion works in Mt Eden has been awarded to the March Bessac Joint Venture.

CRL chief executive Chris Meale says it’s another milestone for the project with work starting at the project’s southern end early next year.“The focus to date has been in the city centre with the Britomart and Albert St works and in the New Year we will start some early works at Mt Eden in anticipation of the tunnel and stations main contract award in 2019.

The Mt Eden contract worth $16.5M is for the construction of a new underground stormwater tunnel between Water and Nikau Streets to replace an existing adjacent pipe that will be in the way of the CRL tunnels.

The March Bessac Joint Venture contractors have extensive pipejacking and underground work experience in New Zealand and internationally and were chosen for a combination of their expertise, the innovation they brought to the tender and for their commercial offer.

“As a result of the contractors’ smart thinking, the works will be less disruptive and will take less time than first anticipated. That’s a win for the project and for the neighbours,” said Mr Meale

All surface work will occur on land already owned by the project, with minimal effect on traffic.

“It’s great to get this contract awarded. We are also progressing the tenders for the main tunnels and stations and railway systems,” said Mr Meale.

In addition, early works will start early next year in Albert Street between Wellesley and Victoria Streets for utilities and building canopy removal works.

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CRL over the moon about its energy savings

22 November 2017

In its latest Sustainability Annual Review released today, Auckland’s City Rail Link (CRL) reveals that in one construction methodology initiative alone, it saved enough diesel to drive to the moon three times.

Chief executive Chris Meale says the project is on track to meet its vision of designing, constructing and operating the CRL to the highest sustainability standards as detailed in the review.

It is the great attitude and approach of people working on the project that makes the difference and saves money and resources. The review shows how CRL’s contractors are tracking to meet sustainability targets, he said.

Truck drivers have completed driver training to reduce diesel use and even one with 40 years’ experience achieved more than an 8% reduction in fuel use. If these same techniques were adopted by New Zealand drivers, the average household would save about $200 a year at the pump.

Using electricity from the grid rather than diesel generators reduces greenhouse gas emissions and the first of three transformers installed saved enough diesel to drive more than a million kilometres.

Reducing the use of materials such as concrete and steel in the design has equated to about 1,800 tonnes of greenhouse gas emission savings, equivalent to the embodied carbon of 49 typical New Zealand houses.

CRL’s contractors also worked with South Pacific Steel to create a new product that reduced the total steel use and the emissions and cost associated with sourcing it offshore.

Sustainability is a cornerstone of CRL thinking where we aim to build the project without using unnecessary resources, said Mr Meale.

The CRL will ultimately deliver a sustainable transport option and we want to make sure we are sustainable during its delivery.

Some highlights over the last year have included:

  • Receiving New Zealand’s only leading ratings for sustainable infrastructure

  • The development of a social outcomes strategy

  • The production for a project-specific technical manual

  • Winning ‘sustainability project of the year’ at the NZ Procurement Excellence Awards

The CRL’s 2016/17 Sustainability Annual Review is available online

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City Rail Link Construction Reinforced by Local Steel Industry

12 September 2017

Steel reinforcing being manufactured in Auckland for the City Rail Link (CRL) project is the first of its type ever made in New Zealand.

The high strength 50mm diameter reinforcing steel bars will help hold up the historic Chief Post Office when the rail tunnels are constructed beneath it and will keep water out of the below sea level excavation.

Sourcing suitable steel from overseas where steel of this size is usually manufactured proved a problem because offshore manufacturers could provide it only in quantities much greater than required.

  PRODUCTION: The bars being produced at Pacific Steel

PRODUCTION: The bars being produced at Pacific Steel

CRL’s contractors, Downer Soletanche Bachy, liaised with New Zealand based suppliers over the possibility of manufacturing the bars locally and Pacific Steel, based in Otahuhu, took up the challenge.

Pacific Steel, New Zealand’s only reinforcing steel manufacturer andusing steel made from local raw materials sourced from New Zealand Steel in Glenbrook was engaged to manufacture an order of 350 tonnes after initial trials were successful.

The original design of the reinforcing cages had a more standard steel size readily available in New Zealand but this was changed to improve constructability.

Project Director, Chris Meale, said thanks to Pacific Steel coming to the party the project has become much more efficient.

“It’s great that our contractor has been able to work collaboratively with a local business for mutual benefit and that in doing so we have created a first for the local steel industry” he said.

Pacific Steel’s General Manager, Lianne Meiklejohn, said the company is always interested in meeting the needs of the infrastructure industry and is proud they were able to find a steel solution. The steel bars are required for the reinforcing cages used in the construction of diaphragm walls which support the existing foundations of the Chief Post Office, retaining the ground during excavation and preventing groundwater from getting in.

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City Rail Link’s ‘big dig’ starts today

17 July 2017

New Zealand’s largest infrastructure project – the City Rail Link (CRL) – has reached another important milestone: the start of bulk excavation work for the cut and cover rail tunnels under Albert Street in downtown Auckland.

Representing about 10% of the 3.45km length of the twin-tunnel underground rail link, the excavation involves digging 18 metres (about five storeys) at the deepest (southern) point, using long-reach excavators above ground and smaller machinery inside the reinforced trench. The tunnels will then be constructed with a cast concrete floor, walls and roof before the trench is backfilled.

The work will be undertaken progressively from Wyndham St at the southern end to Customs Street at the northern end. Excavation at the southern end is expected to be complete by October this year and the northern by the middle of next year.

Construction of the tunnel box is expected to start late this year and be completed by late 2018.

By spring 2019, this section of Albert St will be reinstated with a new road surface, bus lanes, widened footpaths and street furniture.

For those interested in watching the big dig, CRL and contractors Connectus Joint Venture (McConnell Dowell and Downer) have provided viewing windows at the Wyndham St pedestrian crossings.

CRL project director Chris Meale says the start of bulk excavation is another milestone for the project.

“This work marks a significant point in the construction process as we will start to see the tunnels taking shape,” he says.

“It will be exciting and challenging work from an engineering perspective, as we build rail tunnels below ground water level, while maintaining surface-level access to Albert St for foot and vehicle traffic.

“The bulk excavation is also providing employment opportunities with about 50 people working on site. This is likely to increase to 80 by the end of the year once tunnel box construction and water-proofing works are underway, with many being workers employed by local sub-contractors.”

Cut and cover construction is being used at each end of the CRL tunnels – between Britomart Station and the future Aotea Station and, later, where it connects to the western line at Mt Eden. Between Aotea and Mt Eden stations, the tunnels will be between 13 and 42 metres below ground and bored using a 7m diameter tunnel boring machine.

Jointly funded by the Government and Auckland Council, the CRL is Auckland’s top transport priority and is expected to be completed in 2023/24.

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City Rail Link Limited Board appointed

7 July 2017

Finance Minister Steven Joyce and Transport Minister Simon Bridges today announced appointments to the Board of City Rail Link Limited, the new company jointly owned by central and local Government with responsibility for delivering Auckland’s City Rail Link project.

Sir Brian Roche was appointed as Chair at the establishment of the company. The Board members are Russell Black, Brian Harrison, Karen Jordan and Anna Urlwin.

“I welcome the valuable knowledge and experience that these people will bring into their new roles,” Mr Joyce says. “Under the leadership of Sir Brian Roche as Chair, CRLL will drive delivery of this complex project.”

“The appointees bring considerable experience in major project management, procurement in rail projects and other large infrastructure projects, and expertise in finance, accounting and audit and risk,” Mr Bridges says. “I’m confident they are the right group to oversee this hugely important transport project.”

The appointments have been made in conjunction with Auckland Council, the joint venture partner in CRLL.

Russell Black is a consultant who is a Civil Engineer by training, and has significant experience in senior management of large transport infrastructure companies and project managing large infrastructure projects, such as the London Underground’s Jubilee Line extension.

Brian Harrison is a lawyer who specialises in infrastructure funding, procurement, PPPs and contracts. Some of the projects that he has been involved in include: acting for project finance lenders to the Arlanda express rail link, Stockholm; negotiation and delivery of the private finance portion of the funding for the construction of the Jubilee Line, London; adviser to the Strategic Rail Authority (UK) on the capitalisation and debt structuring of rail infrastructure assets.

Karen Jordan immigrated to New Zealand in late 2015 from the UK where her last role was with the Ministry of Defence as Director Contract Management, where she was responsible for improving capability across a multi-billion pound procurement and investment programme. Prior to that, she spent the majority of her career in British Gas or National Grid Plc. 

Anne Urlwin is a Wanaka-based professional director, chartered accountant and business consultant with a wide range of directorship experience. Ms Urlwin is currently the Chair of Naylor Love Enterprises (to step down in October), a director of Chorus, Southern Response Earthquake Services, OnePath Life, Steel & Tube Holdings and Summerset Group Holdings.  She has experience of both central and local government and has served on numerous Crown boards and two local government CCOs.

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More on the appointment of the CRL Board

7 July 2017

Below are links to the media releases from Hon Steven Joyce and Hon Simon Bridges and Auckland Council on appointment of the CRL Ltd Board:

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Establishment of City Rail Link Limited

30 June 2017

Finance Minister Steven Joyce and Transport Minister Simon Bridges have today signed the agreements with Auckland Mayor Phil Goff that establish City Rail Link Limited to assume responsibility from tomorrow for delivering Auckland’s City Rail Link, marking the next step in transforming Auckland’s public transport.

“City Rail Link Limited (CRLL) is a new company owned jointly by central and local Government, with the sole and express responsibility of successfully delivering the game-changing City Rail Link (CRL) project,” Mr Joyce says.

“This is a complex and critical piece of infrastructure that will unlock major development opportunities across central Auckland”, Mr Joyce says, “It is crucial we have a single joint entity running the project solely focussed on delivering a high-quality result for the city while effectively managing the investment of both the Crown and Auckland Council.”

“This is a massive public transport project to deliver New Zealand’s first underground rail system. I want to congratulate the project team that has successfully managed the CRL project to date, and supported the transition to CRLL,” Mr Bridges says.

  SIGNING: CRL Project Director Chris Meale (left) discusses the project with Auckland's Deputy Mayor Bill Cashmore, Transport Minister Simon Bridges, Auckland Mayor Phil Goff and Finance Minister Steven Joyce at the construction site ceremony marking the signing of the CRL Ltd agreements

SIGNING: CRL Project Director Chris Meale (left) discusses the project with Auckland's Deputy Mayor Bill Cashmore, Transport Minister Simon Bridges, Auckland Mayor Phil Goff and Finance Minister Steven Joyce at the construction site ceremony marking the signing of the CRL Ltd agreements

“Today’s signing is the next milestone in this important addition to Auckland’s public transport system. Auckland’s population predicted to grow by more than 700,000 people over the next 30 years, the CRL will play an important role in getting people in and out of the city with ease.

“Once complete, the CRL will fundamentally change the way people get around central Auckland and demonstrates the Government’s is commitment to Auckland and its Public Transport systems.

“CRL is Auckland’s top new transport priority. It will double the capacity of the whole existing rail network and provide significant travel time savings for commuters,” Mr Bridges says.

  CRL: Auckland Mayor Phil Goff and Finance Minister Steven Joyce inspect the construction outside the Britomart Transport Centre

CRL: Auckland Mayor Phil Goff and Finance Minister Steven Joyce inspect the construction outside the Britomart Transport Centre

“The Crown and Auckland Council have signed agreements transferring the project to CRLL, formalising their partnership to jointly fund and oversee it through to completion,” Mr Joyce says.

“Under the leadership of Sir Brian Roche as Chair, CRLL will drive delivery of this complex project.”

Once complete, the CRL will be one of New Zealand’s largest-ever transport projects. The 3.4 kilometre double-track underground rail line will run from Britomart station in downtown Auckland through the CBD to connect with the existing western line at Mt Eden station.

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Auckland Mayor and Government formalise creation of CRL Ltd to deliver NZ’s largest infrastructure project

30 June 2017

Today, Auckland Mayor Phil Goff, Deputy Mayor Cashmore and Ministers Steven Joyce and Simon Bridges, formalised the partnership between Government and Auckland Council to deliver the 3.45 kilometre City Rail Link - New Zealand’s largest infrastructure project.

When complete the $3.4 billion City Rail Link will create two new underground stations (Aotea and Karangahape) and double both the number of trains on the Auckland network and the capacity of people on trains.

Mayor Phil Goff said, “This is an important project for Auckland. It will double the capacity of our rail network and ease congestion enabling 30,000 people an hour to move during peak travel times.”

This isn’t just a transport project; it is an economic development project that will build an artery to feed thousands of employees into New Zealand’s highest value employment precinct.

Over the next 30 years, approximately 60 per cent of New Zealand’s population growth is expected to occur in Auckland with city centre and city fringe resident numbers doubling to 140,000, with employee numbers there doubling to more than 200,000.

“The CRL will help Auckland deal with the challenge of unprecedented population growth and keep our city moving, but it is only one part of the transport jigsaw. We still need government to work with Auckland Council to address the infrastructure funding gap and accelerate projects agreed in ATAP.”

Mayor Goff said the CRL is also good news for Aucklanders looking for employment and training.

“The construction of the CRL will not only help ease pressure on our roads, it will provide training opportunities, apprenticeships and jobs for thousands of Kiwi construction workers over the coming years.

“The boom in construction in the city has created a critical skills shortage in a number of areas and the City Rail Link will provide opportunities for people to find jobs, get trained and develop career pathways.”

Up to 1,600 people will be needed to build Auckland’s City Rail Link during the project’s peak period of operation with at least 600 general construction workers during peak construction, as well as workers with more specialised skills. There will be opportunities for new entrants to the workforce and for more experienced staff.

About the CRLL

CRLL is a crown entity, listed under Schedule 4A of the Public Finance Act, owned by the Crown and Auckland Council. The company has full governance, operational and financial responsibility for the CRL, with clear delivery targets and performance expectations.

It is governed by a board chairman and directors. Procurement responsibilities were transferred from Auckland Transport to CRLL.

The Crown and Auckland Council expect that the management, delivery and completion of the CRL will be an exemplar model for the efficient and effective provision of public infrastructure through central and local government collaboration.

KiwiRail, the state-owned enterprise responsible for all rail operations, has a formal role in ensuring the CRL's interoperability with the wider rail network and the services, such as freight, that it provides.

AT and KiwiRail are engaged by CRLL to provide technical and operational support services.

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City Rail Link chairman looks forward to Monday

30 June 2017

City Rail Link Ltd, established to deliver the City Rail Link on behalf of its joint sponsors the New Zealand Government and Auckland Council, comes into effect tomorrow.

Chairman Sir Brian Roche said today he was looking forward to delivering the project for Auckland and working with the four CRLL directors to be named next week.

They will bring a wealth of talent and skills with them which will help maintain momentum and progress on the project as it expands from the current 15 per cent of the project works to the whole 3.4km length in the next few years. “Being part of delivering New Zealand’s largest infrastructure project and its first underground suburban commuter rail is an exciting prospect, he said.

Mr Roche said he saw the management, delivery and completion of the project through CRL Ltd to set best practice for central and local government collaboration on the provision of public infrastructure.

“On a day-to-day basis it will be business as usual for the project with the same staff making it happen."

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First tranche of City Rail Link funding

25 May 2017

Budget 2017 provides $436 million of new capital for Auckland’s City Rail Link (CRL), as the first tranche of the Government’s investment in this critical transport project for Auckland, Transport Minister Simon Bridges says.

“The Government announced in 2016 that it would support accelerating the delivery of the CRL to help address Auckland’s transport needs by committing to fund half of the expected $2.8 billion to $3.4 billion cost,” Mr Bridges says.

“The CRL is a game-changer for central Auckland and this funding demonstrates the Government’s commitment to Auckland and its public transport systems.

“CRL is Auckland’s top new transport priority. It will double the capacity of the existing rail network and cut travel time for commuters.

“The CRL is already bringing economic benefits to Auckland and New Zealand creating hundreds of jobs during construction,” Mr Bridges says.

Once complete, the CRL will be one of New Zealand’s largest-ever transport projects. The 3.4 kilometre double-track underground rail line will run from Britomart station in downtown Auckland through the CBD to connect with the existing western line at Mt Eden station.

The Government and Auckland Council are now finalising the necessary funding and governance arrangements that will accompany both parties’ significant investment, including setting up an independent company to deliver the project. Further announcements on the details of these arrangements will be made in the coming months.

The Government’s investment in the CRL will be provided progressively through Budgets 2017 to 2020.

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Lower Queen St Lawn makes way for CRL Progress

26 April 2017

It’s almost time to say goodbye to Lower Queen Street as we know it.

From May until 2019, the area in front of Britomart Train Station that has been an inner city lawn and public space for the last year will become a City Rail Link (CRL) construction zone.

Last year’s removal of buses in Lower Queen Street allowed the street to be taken back by the public and partnering with Activate Auckland, the CRL team installed artificial grass, surface paint and artwork to turn it into a popular space.

It has become a meeting point, a transit space, a transport thoroughfare and a surprise space with buskers, art installations, tour promoters, interactive community events, food stalls and the host to the memorable CRL construction launch ceremony.

Although the space is surrounded by construction zones, the transformation has proved to be popular with visitors and locals alike especially over summer when deck chairs were used daily.

Now it will take on a new look as contractors prepare for the cut and cover works to build the CRL twin tunnels from the outer platforms at Britomart. In addition, the adjacent Commercial Bay development needs more space.

However it’ll still be a way for pedestrians to get from Quay to Customs and to Britomart Station. Pedestrian access will be maintained at all times as will vehicle access to nearby Tyler and Galway Streets.

From the beginning of May, the pack down of Lower Queen Street will begin with the trees and i-Site getting new homes and the grass being given its final mow. Construction hoardings will appear followed by the long awaited next stage of CRL construction.

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Three companies approved for CRL linewide systems tender

24 April 2017

Three companies have been shortlisted to tender for linewide systems integration, testing and commissioning for the City Rail Link. There were eight international expressions of interest for the work and three have been selected to move to the request for tender phase.

They are:

  • John Holland NZ Ltd

  • Laing O’Rourke Australia Construction Pty Ltd

  • RCR (Infrastructure) NZ Ltd

CRL project director Chris Meale said it was great to see breadth of competition from credible companies showing interest in the contract seven (C7) work.

The three chosen will now have about three months to tender and following evaluation the successful company is likely to be appointed in the last quarter of this year. The first focus will be on design development for optimal value and efficiency.

The contract will be for the systems that include tracks, power systems, communications, controls, ventilation and signalling from Britomart, through the CRL and connecting to the western line at Mt Eden Station.

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Albert Street piling works completed

13 April 2017

The City Rail Link (CRL) project has reached another milestone, with the last of 362 piles dug on Albert Street, between Customs Street and Wyndham Street.

‘Gomer’ - the nine-storey-high piling rig affectionately named after 1960s TV character Gomer Pyle - began piling in September last year. Each pile was drilled to a depth of 20 metres and filled with reinforced concrete, which will support the trench walls within which the CRL’s twin tunnels will be constructed.

  FINISHED: Gomer's last pile on the corner of Customs and Albert Streets

FINISHED: Gomer's last pile on the corner of Customs and Albert Streets

Connectus, the project’s contractor, is now forming the concrete capping beams which will be placed on top of the piles to tie them together. Steel I beams will then span the width of the trench to brace the piles. This marks the start of construction of the ‘cut and cover’ tunnels across Customs Street and up Albert Street to Wyndham Street.

The cut and cover methodology is being used in this part of the project due to the geology, shallow position of the tunnel and proximity of underground utilities. It involves the excavation of a deep trench between the rows of piles and construction of the tunnel structure (essentially a concrete box), after which the trench will be backfilled and the road reinstated. This work is due to be completed in late 2018.

  CREW: Staff from AT and the Connectus Joint Venture with ‘Gomer’ on completion of his last pile

CREW: Staff from AT and the Connectus Joint Venture with ‘Gomer’ on completion of his last pile

Last week, the tunnel boring machine (TBM) simultaneously excavating and installing a new stormwater main 18 metres under Albert Street, finished its 500-metre journey between Swanson and Wellesley Streets.

Now located 10 metres east of its original alignment, the new stormwater pipe will allow the CRL tunnels to be constructed under Albert Street without interference to the stormwater system, while also helping to future-proof Auckland’s stormwater capacity.

A smaller TBM has also been travelling under the Albert and Victoria Street intersection, creating a diversion for the Orakei Main Sewer flow, to enable the original sewer to be strengthened ahead of the CRL’s mid-town station construction.

The four pipe-jack sites used to launch and receive the TBMs will now start to be demobilised. Between now and September, construction equipment will be cleared, permanent pipe connections made, the shaft sites backfilled and the roads reinstated. 

CRL Project Director Chris Meale says building this major civil infrastructure project in a busy downtown location, hasn’t been without its challenges and impacts on the community, which AT is conscious of.

“It’s been a real feat of engineering completing the works in an environment filled with a large number of underground services - some of which date back more than 100 years and for which little to no records exist - all the while maintaining vehicle access around the site, albeit under restricted conditions."

“Moving now to the excavation stage is an exciting time for the project and takes us a step further in the construction of the CRL for Auckland.”

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Strong International Interest in City Rail Link Construction

5 April 2017

The City Rail Link (CRL) has attracted strong International interest in delivering the CRL tunnels and stations contract for Auckland.

Ten companies from Europe, China, Australia and New Zealand have participated in the pre-qualification phase of the contract and eight have been approved to move to the next phase which is Expression of Interest.

The two that were not approved are specialist service providers best placed to provide sub- consultancy services to the eventual contractor.

Project director Chris Meale said it was great to see such a wide range of positive interest in delivering the project for Auckland.

“We had hundreds of people attend an industry briefing late last year and it is rewarding to see that investment paying off for us in the quality and breadth of experience that the bidders are bringing to the process.”

“We are competing with other major infrastructure projects worldwide and it is important to attract enough interest for a competitive process that will ensure value for money for Auckland.”

Expressions of interest for the tunnel and station work will be released shortly, then evaluated and in about October two will be shortlisted for the tender phase.

“The tender process, for a project as complex as CRL, will take several months. Tenders will then be evaluated before the contractor is selected next year” said Mr Meale.

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CRL project opens up huge employment opportunities

3 April 2017

Construction of Auckland’s City Rail Link (CRL) will require about 1600 people delivering the project at its peak. This could include opportunities for hundreds of workers who are new to the workforce or not currently employed.

The CRL is New Zealand’s biggest infrastructure project, construction on the underground rail link connecting Britomart and the city centre to the western line near Mt Eden began in December 2015.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says this is great news for Aucklanders currently not in employment. “Construction on the CRL is ramping up with the first two contracts and the release of more tenders for the future work. We’re going to need a wide range of skills and that means fantastic job opportunities opening up.

“The boom in construction in the city has created a critical skill shortage in a number of areas and the City Rail Link will provide opportunities for people to find jobs, get trained and develop career pathways.”

Mr Goff adds, “The CRL is an important project for Auckland. It will double the capacity of our rail network and ease congestion enabling 30,000 people an hour to move by rail during peak travel times.”

The project estimates that at peak 600 general construction workers will be needed as well as those with more specialised skills.  Labour requirements will vary with opportunities for new entrants to the workforce as well as the need for skilled labour and trades including plumbers and electricians and those involved in specialist rail systems and signalling.

Project Director Chris Meale says: “We’re looking for contractors to provide internships, cadetships, apprenticeships or equivalent pathways to learning as well as upskilling and reskilling to equip people for the present and future. The project is a long-term employment offering, with the CRL not due to be completed until 2023, giving time for people to develop and progress in their careers."

“This opens up opportunities for employment, training and social innovation especially for Mana Whenua, Māori, Pasifika and young people aged 15 to 24 years. This will respond to the 162,000 young people of that age who are not in employment, education or training in New Zealand, including 27,000 Māori and 11,000 Pasifika people. CRL is committed to promoting a culture of equity, inclusion and diversity with a social outcomes strategy that also targets others facing barriers in the labour market.”

He says pre-employment training will build confidence and competence, provide them with relevant work ready skills and significantly improve their chances of gaining quality employment in the construction, infrastructure and rail industries.

“We also want to encourage socially innovative businesses. Such businesses want to make a profit but their point of difference is that they generate social benefits beyond the products and services they deliver. Many Māori and Pasifika businesses would be considered socially innovative."

“CRL wants to encourage the upcoming generation to pursue careers in the trades and infrastructure sector through targeted and innovative school, university and educational institute programmes. It’s an exciting sector with diverse opportunities that has a great future.”

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City Rail Link construction unlocking new jobs

3 April 2017

Economic Development and Transport Minister Simon Bridges says significant employment opportunities are being created by construction of the City Rail Link (CRL) in Auckland.

The joint project between Government and Auckland Council is New Zealand’s largest transport infrastructure project. Construction of the early works began in December 2015, with the project expected to be complete by 2024.

“The CRL will provide significant transport benefits in the future, and it is already bringing economic benefits to Aucklanders and New Zealanders through the hundreds of employment opportunities being created during construction,” Mr Bridges says.

“Construction is continuing to expand, with two contracts underway and more to follow. It is estimated that about 600 general construction workers will be needed for the construction of the CRL with an estimated 1600 jobs at the peak of works.”

Labour requirements for the CRL will vary with opportunities for new entrants to the workforce as well as for skilled labour and trades including plumbers and electricians and those involved in specialist rail systems and signalling.

Mr Bridges says major infrastructure projects like the CRL are supporting strong economic growth.

“The construction industry is booming with the national demand for building and construction being heavily driven by Auckland. New Zealand continues to construct more by value than ever before with the total value expected to grow to $37 billion towards the end of 2017,” Mr Bridges says.

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CRL project given another top sustainability rating

22 March 2017

Auckland’s City Rail Link (CRL) project has been recognised for a “world first” - embedding cultural values into its sustainability approach.

The CRL was last night awarded a “Leading” Infrastructure Sustainability (IS) Design rating by the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA), the highest possible achievement in the IS scheme.

The rating is for the design and construction planning of Contract 1 – the work through and under Britomart Station and Lower Queen Street to the former Downtown Shopping Centre site. A Downer/Soletanche Bachy joint venture is the delivery partner for this contract. The designers are Aurecon, Mott MacDonald, Grimshaw, Jasmax and Arup.

This is only the second “Leading” rating awarded in New Zealand, the first also went to the CRL. It was for the design and construction planning (with Connectus) of Contract 2 – the Albert Street tunnels and a new stormwater main under Albert Street. 

In awarding the Contract 1 Design rating, ISCA considered project performance across six themes: Management & Governance; Using Resources; Emissions, Pollution & Waste; Ecology; People & Place; and Innovation.

ISCA noted several highlights for Contract 1:

  • The CRL’s initiative collaborating with Mana Whenua to embed Māori cultural values across the IS framework: a first globally

  • Water-efficient fittings specified for the refurbished Britomart station are projected to reduce water usage by more than 50%, with associated reductions in utility bills

  • A projected reduction in energy-related greenhouse gas emissions by over 25% through efficient construction techniques, including replacing diesel generators with grid electricity, and the specification of energy-efficient equipment for the refurbished station

  • Reducing waste by recycling items such as the uPVC piping from the station plaza water feature, and carefully removing the bluestone feature wall tiles for reinstatement once the tunnels are completed

  • The protection and enhancement of the Category 1 heritage-listed station building

  • CRL Project Director Chris Meale says the project is committed to setting the benchmark for sustainable design, construction and operation of infrastructure in New Zealand and the latest recognition shows it is on the right track to achieving this.

Antony Sprigg, CEO ISCA, says Contract 1 achieved a rating score of 80.7, well above the 75 points required to gain a “Leading” IS rating.

“Contract 1’s Leading IS rating attests to CRL’s local, national and international leadership through their infrastructure sustainability commitment and outstanding performance to date.”

CRL construction is well underway and reporting to date shows it is on track to deliver a sustainable project for Auckland.

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Next City Rail Link project milestone achieved

19 January 2017

The first contract documents for the entire City Rail Link (CRL) project from the city to Mt Eden go out to the industry today, marking an important milestone for the project.

Expressions of Interest are being sought for the design, procurement, installation and commissioning of all tunnel track work and rail systems between Britomart Station and the Western Line at Mt Eden. The work involves the provisioning of track slab, track, overhead line, signalling, control systems, tunnel ventilation, fire strategy and communications system.

The successful contractor will be responsible for the integration of the systems with the existing operations at Britomart and Mt Eden and the new tunnels and stations being built for the CRL.

The documents, the first to be released to build the project past its current Britomart and Albert Street sites, have been prepared as a result of the agreement between the Government and Auckland Council to jointly fund the project.

The C7 systems package will be procured using an Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) model followed by a Design and Construct contract.

Other packages to be released this year include one for the construction of the CRL tunnels and new city, Karangahape and Mt Eden stations and a further package for a stormwater diversion in Mt Eden.

CRL Project Director Chris Meale says the CRL is fast gaining momentum.

“The new Britomart entrance is in place so we can start building the tunnels, the new stormwater pipe in Albert Street is reaching the halfway stage and a third of the piles for the tunnels in Albert Street have been completed. Now we are looking further afield to Mt Eden and the systems package going to market today is a visible sign of that progress.

A new future for transport in Auckland is taking shape and I’d like to thank Aucklanders for their patience as we build it.”

Auckland’s City Rail Link (CRL) project has been recognised for a “world first” - embedding cultural values into its sustainability approach.

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