City Rail Link
Sandrine 1 Nov 2017.jpg

Sandrine finishes her CRL journey



Another big milestone in the City Rail Link story.

The bright red 90 tonne piling rig named Sandrine that has been working around the historic Chief Post Office (Britomart Transport Centre) building has just finished her journey and is heading back to France.

Sandrine returns 27 Feb 2018.jpg

That also means the distinctive silos outside the CPO have finished their work.

CPO Sandrine.jpg

The rig has played a major part in preparing for the tunnel construction in the building.

Sandrine 10 September

Sandrine has been building lots of walls

With Sandrine's help, 64 diaphragm walls (or D-walls) have been built by the Downer Soletanche JV CRL construction workers.


The wall panels form the structural support for the tunnels to be built in the building and also prevent water ingress.

CPO 25 September.jpg

A D-wall is a continuous wall constructed in the ground, typically to form an underground barrier or structure.

CPO INside 5 Oct 2017 V5.jpg

They are constructed by an engineered fluid, typically a sodium bentonite mud, which is later replaced by permanent concrete. Sodium bentonite is an absorbent clay that expands when wet. Bentonite slurry (a mix of bentonite powder and water) was pumped into the trenches being excavated for the diaphragm walls to ensure the sides don’t cave in and ground water levels remain constant. 

^ back to top

At work inside Britomart

The technology

Sandrine is a compact hydrofraise piling rig. This explains what hydrofraise is:

What happens now

CPO 1 14 July 17.jpg

Now they are completed, the walls are to be part of the permanent structure being built by supporting the building and the CRL tunnel box.


The rig first began work around the outside of the building in Lower Queen Street and then last September was brought into the actual building.


The silos have done their work too

The first public sign of this stage of the construction was last year with the emergence of large distinctive red silos outside the CPO in Lower Queen Street .


The silos were part of a specialised bentonite plant, shipped over from France by CRL contractor Downer Soletanche-Bachy Joint Venture, to help with the construction of those diaphragm walls .

CPO 7 August.jpg

Sandrine and the associated silos and plant will now be decommissioned and removed from the construction area.

Sandrine 1 Nov 2017.jpg

The CPO is a heritage building and we're pleased to report that no damage at all was caused during the work even though the enormous machine had to manoeuvre around a small and difficult interior area.

And the name Sandrine? 

Soletanche Bachy has a tradition of naming its machinery after women who work for the company.

The rig is named after Sandrine Mussier, (pictured)  who has worked for CRL contractor Soletanche-Bachy for the past 20 years, looking after its international project staff. 

Sandrine real.jpg