Second Tunnel breakthrough at CRL’s Karanga a Hape Station

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The breakthrough represents good progress on construction of the 3.45km twin-tunnel underground rail link up to 42m below the Auckland city centre, says chief executive Dr Sean Sweeney.

The tunnel boring machine’s journey to Karanga a Hape from Maungawhau (Mt Eden) took three months and demonstrated the project’s continued advancement.

“Boring of the second tunnel only began at Maungawhau Station (Mt Eden) on 26 April and Dame Whina Cooper is slightly ahead of schedule by arriving at Karanga a Hape Station today,” Dr Sweeney says. “Given everything that’s happened over the last two years, it’s particularly pleasing to see us meet our objectives on this section of the project.”

The completion date for the CRL project is currently set for late 2024. Over the past two years, the impacts of the pandemic have been substantial and are still impacting all construction projects. CRL is currently calculating the cost and time impacts and will share these as soon as possible.

To reach the breakthrough point at Karanga a Hape Station, Dame Whina Cooper travelled 900m, placed 526 segment rings and removed 74,000 tonnes of spoil.

Over the next two weeks, the tunnel-boring team will push the machine forward through the 230-metre Karanga a Hape Station (Karangahape) tunnel cavern to the Beresford Square site. Hundreds of workers have worked around the clock at Karanga a Hape Station since November 2019 to prepare for the breakthrough and to build what will be Aotearoa New Zealand’s deepest train station.

Once at Beresford Square, the tunnel boring machine will undergo maintenance, including replacing the teeth of the cutterhead, before embarking on the next part of its journey travelling beneath Pitt and Vincent Streets through to Te Wai Horotiu Station (Aotea). Its breakthrough into the midtown station is expected this Spring.

A national competition saw New Zealanders choose the name of the tunnel boring machine. The names of thousands of ‘ground-breaking Kiwi women’ were entered in the competition and Dame Whina Cooper was chosen the winner, with the support of her surviving whanau.

Throughout her life Dame Whina Cooper worked tirelessly for the rights of Māori and her name is synonymous with the mana and reputation she earned as a woman of influence and significance for Māori and for Aotearoa.

‘Kia Mataara’ is a phrase gifted to the project by Dame Whina Cooper’s tamāhine (daughter), Hinerangi Cooper. It recognises the four TBM breakthroughs and means to be alert, to observe, or to witness. Dame Whina Cooper spoke the words herself in an address to her supporters in her 1975 hīkoi to Parliament.

Source: City Rail Link Media Release

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