Construction of the City Rail Link (CRL) tunnel under the northern end of Albert Street has finished, marking a shift in focus towards enhancement work along the busy central Auckland thoroughfare.
A concrete pour of the final section of tunnel box roof was completed successfully today (Thursday, 4 July) below the Albert Street/Customs Street intersection.
“There is now a finish line in sight for our work at the north end of Albert Street,” says City Rail Link Ltd’s Chief Executive, Dr Sean Sweeney. “There is still work to do underground, but we can now start to turn our attention to people-friendly improvements along Albert Street itself.”
The project re-opened the Albert Street/Wyndham Street intersection last month, and work is planned to start mid-July on the first phase of enhancement work. Improvements include wider footpaths, more open places for people to share, and tree plantings. Work will start from Wyndham Street and head block by block north towards Customs Street.
“If work goes to plan we are hoping to return the first section of enhancements back to the community around Christmas,” Dr Sweeney says.
The northern section of Albert Street tunnel between Wyndham and Customs Streets is 348 metres long. The final concrete pour now connects it to the one under the Commercial Bay property development, linking Albert Street to the CRL lower Queen Street/Britomart station construction site.
Construction in Albert Street began in December 2015, with the diversion of a major stormwater line to create room for the tunnel. Over the past three-and-a-half years, over a million hours were worked on site, 2,500 tonnes of steel bar reinforcement tied together, and over 10,000 cubic metres of concrete poured. In that time, many kilometers of stormwater, electrical, gas, sewerage and internet lines were relocated or strengthened. Back filling the trench around the tunnel will be completed in late winter.
Dr Sweeney acknowledges the work of the contractors, and the support from the local community.
“Construction like this in the middle of a city is never easy for anyone – the risks for workers that come from working in confined spaces, and the disruption for people living and working nearby – but we have taken a big step towards building a project that will change the way people can travel around our city,” he says.
The next programme of tunnel construction work on Albert Street is south of the Wyndham Street intersection. Planning by CRL Ltd and companies in the Link Alliance include strategies to manage the impact of those works when they start later this year.