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November 2018 Newsletter

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CRL Connection November 2018
 
City Rail Link
 
 
 
Weight of heritage building transferred to new foundations
 
One of the most complex challenges for the City Rail Link (CRL) project – transferring the weight of the 106-year-old Chief Post Office (CPO) building onto temporary foundations - has been successfully completed.
 
The weight transfer follows two years of planning and preparation by local and international experts and enables CRL tunnelling works to begin under Britomart Station.
 
CRL’s Head Delivery Manager, Scott Elwarth, says protecting the heritage features of the CPO and the building itself has been a priority for the project.
 
“To enable us to construct CRL tunnels under the heritage building, we had to remove a number of existing foundations. To do this, we had to first supported the building on underpinning frames and in doing so limited any movement to less than 1 or 2mm. In all, we had to transfer 4000 tonnes of the building weight onto the frames. So much depended on this being 100 per cent successful. There was absolutely no room for error,” he says.
 
When the CRL opens in 2024, Aucklanders will have a better connected and more efficient rail network that can take twice as many train services at peak.
 
Watch the video about the weight transfer of the CPO building
 
 
 
Lower Queen St tunnel breakthrough approaching
 
Before the end of this month, CRL is expecting to start cutting through the secant pile wall that separates the Lower Queen St excavation from the CRL tunnels built under the Commercial Bay development site.

The breakthrough will involve cutting around the outline of the tunnels and then breaking out the secant piles within these cuts. This process will continue as we excavate deeper into Lower Queen St to get to the required 13-metre depth.

The northern trench beneath the CPO building has been excavated to six metres and a temporary concrete floor constructed to enable installation of mid-level props to provide support for the trench walls before deeper excavation begins. The same process will shortly be repeated in the southern trench, where workers are currently completing the breakout of the CPO building’s redundant foundations and demolishing the old pedestrian underpass.

At platform level, the contractor is preparing to construct the tunnel portals that will link the existing rail track to the new CRL lines under the CPO.
 
 
 
Rail network improvements start in Parnell
 
As part of CRL creating a more reliable and resilient rail service for Auckland, network improvements have begun at the Strand in Parnell. These works are being delivered by KiwiRail.

The former Strand train station in Parnell was re-opened in 2011 to be a stabling yard for Auckland Transport’s Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) trains and a platform for KiwiRail’s Northern Explorer. It also acts as an emergency back-up station to Britomart.

The rail works involve the introduction of a new track cross-over point to allow trains to more easily access the existing Strand station and stabling facility, along with some track realignment and modifications to overhead line and signalling equipment. This will make access easier for the Northern Explorer and empty EMUs.

The Strand works will enable an increased frequency of trains on the Auckland rail network once the CRL is operational.
 
Watch a KiwiRail video on the Strand works
 
 
 
Albert St tunnel box construction past halfway
 
CRL’s Albert St tunnel box construction is now about 63 per cent complete, with 264 metres of floor, 240 metres of wall and 156 metres of roof poured at the southern end of the trench.

CRL contractor Connectus Joint Venture has also started backfilling the trench the tunnel box sits in. To date, more than 4,000m3 of material has been placed on top of the tunnel box, about 10 per cent of the total amount required. This has enabled more than 180 metres of temporary steelwork to be removed.

As work progresses, there will be some road layout changes on Albert St as Connectus starts the reinstatement of the Wyndham St intersection. This includes some minor shifting of traffic lanes to provide working room for the removal of temporary support structures from the southern end of the trench.

Under the Albert/Customs St intersection, Connectus is nearing the completion of the breakthrough into the CRL tunnel box under the neighbouring Commercial Bay development. This work coincides with the removal of the last of the remaining material to be excavated.
 
 
 
Water St shaft excavation reaches halfway
 
At Mt Eden, work is progressing on construction of 17-metre-deep shafts required as part of CRL’s stormwater realignment contract.
 
Contractor March Bessac is tasked with diverting a 420-metre section of stormwater main that lies in the path of the future CRL tunnels at Mt Eden.
 
The new main will be installed by a micro tunnel boring machine named ‘Jeffie’, who is expected to be lowered into the Water St launch shaft in December and start her journey towards the Nikau St reception shaft in the New Year.
 
The concrete pipe segments, which will be pushed along behind Jeffie as she bores the new stormwater tunnel, continue to arrive at the Water St construction site.
 
A bentonite plant has also been established to assist with the pipe-jack work. Bentonite is a
special type of clay used in tunnelling to create a fluid sleeve around the pipeline to help keep the soil from closing in during works.
 
A bentonite slurry circuit is also used to carry the tunnel cuttings to the surface for separation. The treatment plant separates the solids from the bentonite fluid and returns it to the tunnelling machine. The solid material generated will be carted to a certified fill site.
 
A special ceremony for Jeffie will be held on 4 December, St Barbara’s Day. St Barbara is the
patron saint of miners, making it an appropriate day to hold a ceremony to bless the workers and equipment before the tunnelling work begins.
 
 
 
Former Britomart Station engineer returns to work on CRL
 
Mike McEnroe worked on the development of Britomart Station back in the early 2000s. Now he’s back there working on the next chapter in Britomart history – CRL’s transformation of the existing end-of-line tunnels into a two-way system, so more trains can get in and out of the city.
 
Mike is now working as a site superintendent delivering CRL’s Britomart works contract and is looking forward to seeing the tunnels completed.

“I’m thrilled because of the history I have with Britomart (originally Auckland’s Chief Post Office built in 1912). Seeing this through to the end is, in essence, leaving a legacy. It’s a proud moment to be able to look at something monumental and say, ‘I built that.’”
 
Mike’s a big fan of CRL, New Zealand’s biggest transport infrastructure project, saying Auckland really needs it. The 3.45km twin-tunnel underground rail link being built up to 42 metres below the city centre will allow Auckland’s rail network to at least double its capacity.
 
His role involves managing the day- to-day activities of the site crew and sub-contractors working on the project and finding people to fill new roles as the project progresses. Because he worked on the original Britomart Station project, Mike knows the building inside and out.
 
“One change from those times is the nature of the workforce. We have a lot more international expertise working on this project, which is great because this project is a real first for New Zealand.”
 
Read the full story here
 
 
 
Kitten rescued by CRL workers doing well
 
Remember ‘Shadow’, the tiny black kitten found trapped under a barrier at CRL’s Britomart work site last Valentine’s Day?
 
The tiny, malnourished eight-week-old kitten became a social media favourite at the time of his rescue and subsequent adoption – the initial Facebook story receiving more than 720 likes and more than 25 shares.

Shadow was taken home by worker Ibrahim Sarker, who reports that his family’s much-loved pet is now “very well and very big”.

“Our family is in love with him,” Ibrahim says. “He loves playing with the kids, follows everyone around the house and loves chasing them. He’s a great addition to our family.”
 
 
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