The year ahead promises to be a pretty exciting one for the CRL project, says CRL’s chief executive, Dr Sean Sweeney.
It will be dominated by a number of significant milestones to deliver New Zealand’s largest-ever transport infrastructure project.
Dr Sweeney says his project team is starting the meticulous process of evaluating two bids from NZ and international companies to design and construct the 3.45km-long underground project.
“When we know who the successful bidder is, we’ll also know what the project, including the two underground stations, will look like, how they will be constructed, and how much the project will cost. We expect the successful bidder to start the main construction works by the end of the year.”
CRL is using some snappy street art to tell the project’s story to a wider audience of Aucklanders.
New construction hoardings installed around Lower Queen St and Britomart give people a visual snapshot of the project. They highlight the benefits the project will deliver when it opens in 2024, and also include maps of the CRL route and artist impressions of what the new stations could look like.
More tunnel breakthroughs coming up
In mid-February, there will be a significant breakthrough of the wall separating Lower Queen St and the CRL tunnels that have been built across the Commercial Bay site.
This is expected to be followed soon after by the breakthrough to the Britomart Station side. At this point, a physical connection will be established from Britomart, all the way up Albert St to Wyndham St.
The first section of concrete tunnel floor has been poured inside the old post office building. This tunnel will form the CRL line coming down from Mt Eden to Britomart.
Work will begin mid-February to remove the canopies from four buildings - Auckland Council, SkyCity, Manhattan apartments and AA - located along the western side of Albert St between Wellesley and Victoria Sts.
The canopies are being removed to provide enough room for piling machinery to work along Albert St. Piles up to 20 metres in length will help support excavation for the future Aotea station.
There are some associated traffic layout changes and pedestrian diversions on this section of Albert St.
Jeffie – the micro tunnel boring machine pipejacking a replacement stormwater main through Mt Eden as part of the CRL project – has now completed the first 100m of her 420m journey between Water and Nikau Sts.
At the Strand in Parnell, a new track cross-over point has been constructed to give trains easier access to their stabling yard and enable the rail network to run more efficiently once the CRL is operational.
Below Albert St, we’re continuing to backfill the space above the tunnel box to provide a strong base for reinstating the road above.
Fifty thousand cubic metres of aggregate is being used for the job – enough to fill 20 Olympic-sized swimming pools. While that’s a truckload of aggregate, it falls short of the 78,000m3 of dirt that was excavated under Albert St in the first place to make room for the concrete tunnel box that will house the two CRL rail tracks.
In parallel with backfilling, work continues to complete the final section of the Albert St tunnel boxes.
From March, northbound traffic along Albert St will be moved closer to the centre of the road and on to the existing construction traffic deck to allow the contractor to remove pile capping beams, complete backfilling and reinstate the road.