$4.2 billion for Auckland transport

mainmotorway_620x310Auckland is receiving 30 per cent of a national land transport budget of $13.9 billion over the next three years.

The Government’s Transport Agency has this afternoon announced that the Super City – with about one third of the country’s population – will receive $4.2 billion for state highways, local roads, public transport, walking, cycling and road policing.

About $3 billion – or just over 71 per cent – of that will be Government money from fuel taxes paid into the National Land Transport Fund, leaving Auckland Council to pay the remaining $1.2b.

That does not include projects outside the land transport programme for which the council is allocating Auckland Transport an additional $1 billion, including for the City Rail Link.

Aucklanders will also contribute $520m of “external revenue” such as parking fees and fines, and public transport fares.

Their city’s share of the overall “partnership” pot from the national programme will include $1.175 billion for public transport, $960 million to maintain highways and local roads, and $91 million to improve cycling and walking.

That is additional to $24.75m the Government said last week it would contribute to Auckland from its $100m urban cycleways fund.

Today’s transport announcement opens the way for early starts on a $1 billion package of road freight connections between the Southern and Southwestern motorways, and also commits funds for the first time to design an extension of the Northern Busway, from Constellation Drive to Albany.

It includes $48m to continue preparations for a $760m motorway extension to Warkworth, which the Government hopes will be built as a public private partnership from late next year.

The transport programme has allocated $268m to widen the Southern Motorway beyond Manukau, and has increased the budget to complete the Waterview Connection and related projects along the Northwestern Motorway on Auckland’s long-awaited western ring route from $2b to $2.27b.

The national allocation represents a 15 per cent increase in land transport funding from previous 2012-15 programme.

Transport Minister Simon Bridges says the $13.9b programme represents the largest ever spend on land transport, and will deliver on Government priorities of increasing economic growth and productivity, improving safety, strengthening regional transport networks, lifting investment in public transport and cycling, and ensuring value for money.

The Government’s share of the national programme amounts to $10.5 billion.
Roads will account for $10.3b of the programme.

That comprises $6.3b for state highways which are fully Government-funded and $4b for local roads, about half of which are financed by councils and their ratepayers.

Almost $2b has been earmarked for public transport nationally, a 21 per cent increase, and investment in cycling will more than triple – to $251m.

But the Green Party says the programme is focussed too heavily on “carbon-polluting transport infrastructure, rather than building a clean, balanced and efficient system for the 21st Century.”

Transport spokeswoman Julie Anne Genter said National had chosen to continue spending more than $1b a year “on a few carbon-polluting motorways that haven’t even passed a business test.”

She commended the increase in money for urban clearways, but criticised the Government’s “foolish and unjustified policy of not funding rail infrastructure from the National Land Transport Fund, even though rail is obviously a form of land transport.”

Regional allocations for the coming three years:

Allocation to other regions for the coming three years include:

  • Auckland – $4.223b
  • Northland – $460m
  • Waikato – $1.812b
  • Bay of Plenty – $591m
  • Wellington – $1.439b
  • Hawkes Bay – $245m
  • Taranaki – $187m
  • Manawatu-Whanganui – $450m
  • Gisborne – $120m
  • Greater Christchurch – $1.575b
  • Canterbury (outside Christchurch), Otago, Southland and West Coast – $977m
  • Upper South Island – $221m

Source:

  • NZ Herald
  • Photos: Brett Phibbs

Karapiro Viaduct time-lapse video

Karapiro Viaduct time-lapse video – part of the NZTA Cambridge Bypass Project currently underway in the North Island.

Alice gains a partner at Waterview

Alice, the giant tunnel boring machine excavating the motorway tunnels on Auckland’s Waterview Connection project, now has a partner to help complete New Zealand’s largest roading project.

The partner’s name is Dennis, a yellow launching gantry being used to construct the massive interchange to join the Northwestern and Southwestern motorways at the northern end of the project.

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The NZ Transport Agency’s Regional Highway Manager, Tommy Parker, says besides its construction work, Dennis has another important role to play.

“He’s been named by project workers in honour of a workmate who died last year from cancer and is painted yellow to promote the work of the Cancer Society – the charity supported by the Well-Connected Alliance constructing the tunnels.

“We hope Dennis will become a beacon of hope for cancer sufferers and their families, and a reminder to the rest of us of the valuable work done by the Cancer Society,” Mr Parker says.

Dennis – 98 metres long and weighing about 140 tonnes – will be the most publicly visible feature of the Waterview Connection project over the next three years.   It is similar, but smaller, than the blue gantry used recently to construct the replacement viaduct at Newmarket on Auckland’s Southern Motorway (SH1)

Mr Parker says the gantry’s work will be a project within a project.

“The four interchange ramps to connect the two motorways involve the construction of 1.7km of bridge structures.

“It requires placing 270 precast concrete beams, each up to 37 metres long and weighing up to 65 tonnes, to create the 53 spans for the four ramps. The spans will, in turn, support the deck structures.”

“The first ramp being built will take westbound traffic from the Northwestern Motorway to the southbound tunnel – this is one people will use when travelling from central Auckland to the airport,” Mr Parker said.

The gantry was designed and built in Italy specifically for the Waterview project. It was chosen over conventional bridge construction methods to minimise impacts on adjacent archaeological areas and traffic flows.

Dennis began work two weeks ago and will become more visible over the next two weeks when it moves out over Great North Road.

It will also switch from day to night shifts with closures on the road directly below the lifting mechanism. The first closures are scheduled for mid-March, and will affect traffic only leaving Great North Road to go west.

“Using this method of construction will minimise disruption to traffic.  While it is essential for public safety reasons to have no traffic below a heavy concrete beam being lifted into position, traffic can continue to flow normally under the non-lifting parts of the gantry,” Mr Parker says.”

Ongoing information about road closures relating to the gantry’s operation will be provided on the Transport Agency’s travel information webpage for the Western Ring Route: http://www.nzta.govt.nz/stayconnected.

The Waterview Connection is one of five projects to complete the Western Ring Route as an alternative motorway to SH1 through central Auckland and the AucklandHarbourBridge. It is prioritised by the Government as one of its Roads of National Significance because of the contribution it will make to New Zealand’s prosperity by underpinning economic growth and sustainable development for Auckland and its regional neighbours.

The project’s tunnels will each carry three motorway lanes, up to 45 metres below the suburbs of Avondale and Waterview and are due to open in early 2017.

Source:

  • NZTA
  • Picture: NZ Herald

Thumbs up for Wellington expressway

A 16 km expressway north of Wellington has had resource consent granted by a Board of Inquiry.

New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) had proposed the expressway be built from McKays Crossing (Raumati South) to Peka Peka, north of Waikanae.

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The road was part of the Wellington Northern Corridor, a development considered to be of national significance, so was referred to the board by Environment Minister Amy Adams last April.

The decision followed the Board’s consideration of the application, submissions, evidence and a two week hearing.

Its decision could be appealed to the High Court on points of law only, and it could not be overturned by ministers.

NZTA’s state highway manager Rod James earlier said the road was expected to be open by mid- to late-2017.

The expressway would not only provide an improved highway route through the Kapiti district but would also increase safety, reduce travel times and improve journey time reliability between the Kapiti Coast and Wellington, he said.

Source:

  • NZ Herald
  • Rebecca Quilliam

Waterview Project-Time Lapse Video

A time lapse video of the Waterview Project including the construction of Alice the TBM.

Source: YouTube: Waterview Connection

 

Alice poised for action

Alice, the Waterview Connection’s tunnel boring machine, is lined up at the mouth of her first Mt Roskill wall, ready to dig the country’s biggest roading job.

John Burden, project manager for the Well-Connected Alliance, showed how the shield or cutting face of the world’s 10th-largest tunnel boring machine would soon start eating into the ground to create the first 2.4km southbound tunnel.

alice

Alice, which can create a 14.4m diameter tunnel up to 17m long a day, not only digs the tunnel with her circular cutter head full of blades and discs but also lines the hole she has dug with concrete segments, completing the process all in one go.

“The tunnel has to be that big to get three lanes of traffic in,” said Burden, aged 51, a civil engineering Auckland University graduate, who heads the project.

Burden was in the successful tendering team, so has been working on the $1.4 billion Waterview job since January 2011 “and we have another 3 years to go”.

Financial incentives and disincentives are built into the contract.

“The commercial organisations in the alliance work to target and get a pain or gain share,” Burden said, describing financial penalties and rewards at various stages.

He cited Alice as an example, saying it had come in “very close to budget, at roughly $55 million”.

“If we didn’t do a good job, all the people in the alliance would be affected and get less money,” Burden said.

Soil or spoil from the tunnels will be removed by a continuous conveyor belt, more than 6km long once it is linked up to the back of Alice.

Source:

  • Anne Gibson
  • NZ Herald
  • Photo: facebook.com/AliceTBM

Alice taking shape after big lift at Waterview

The NZTA’s Waterview Connection team in Auckland is celebrating a key project milestone with the successful lowering into place of the 350-tonne main drive that will power Alice, the project’s giant tunnel boring machine (TBM).

home-cutter-head-installation-img4The main drive, the critical component that will enable the cutting face of the TBM – now known as Alice – to rotate and bore the twin tunnels that will connect the Northwestern and Southwestern motorways, was lowered 40 m into the deep trench where the machine is being reassembled.

The NZTA’s highways manager, Tommy Parker, says the operation demonstrates both the complexity and preparation required for the country’s biggest ever roading project. “This single operation illustrates that this is a project of unprecedented scale in New Zealand,” says Mr Parker. “To have completed it with such little fuss, as if an everyday task, should give all the project’s stakeholders – which in this case is the whole of New Zealand – great confidence in our team’s ability to meet the many challenges that lie ahead in its safe delivery.”

The meticulously planned manoeuvre was carried out using a 600-tonne crane, and required the construction of a deep-piled, reinforced crane platform, capable of supporting a total weight of almost 1200 tonnes above the trench. Despite being only a temporary structure, the platform required deeper and longer piles than any of the permanent structures on the entire project.

Reassembly

Weeks after arriving in her many pieces, Alice is beginning to take shape in the excavated trench of the future tunnels’ southern approach. Reassembly involves the painstaking reattachment of over 300,000 bolts, ranging in weight from a single gram to 4 kg. Around 10,000 of these will be in the main shield alone.
home-the-final-big-lift-img4

The TBM is due to be commissioned and start tunnelling in late October. It will bore two tunnels, both 2.4 km long and wide enough for three lanes of traffic in each direction, to complete Auckland’s Western Ring Route. The 47 km stretch of motorway is identified as one of the government’s national roads of significance to support economic development and improve safety.

The $1.4 billion Waterview Connection – New Zealand’s largest roading project – is one of six projects to complete the Western Ring Route.

The distinctive 14 m wide cutting face – which makes Alice the 10th largest machine of its kind in the world – is scheduled to be lowered into place towards the end of September.

Source:

  • New Zealand Construction News
  • Photo’s: nzta.govt.nz
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