One of the impressive machines involved in the City Rail Link (CRL) construction is about to begin the next stage of an underground journey through downtown Auckland.
The 2m-wide tunnel boring machine, named Valerie in honour of the strength of Olympian Valerie Adams, is simultaneously excavating and installing a new stormwater pipe under Albert Street.
Having completed the first 290 metres of tunnelling and pipe-jacking work between Victoria and Swanson Streets, the machine is currently being refurbished in the shed at Victoria and Albert Streets in preparation of the next stage of its journey. It will be lowered down the shaft to begin the final 200-metre stretch towards Wellesley Street.
It should arrive at Wellesley Street in April.
The stormwater diversion is needed before the CRL cut-and-cover construction of twin tunnels can be delivered by Connectus, a McConnell Dowell and Hawkins joint venture.
A smaller tunnel boring machine is also working under Victoria Street, diverting the Orakei sewer main and enabling the existing sewer to be strengthened under the future mid-town Aotea Station.
Construction on CRL, which will link Britomart and the city centre to the western line near Mt Eden, began in December 2015.
Project director Chris Meale says every milestone takes Auckland closer to a new future for transport.