Minister takes up last opportunity to see Alice

  • Simon Bridges

Transport Minister Simon Bridges today took one of the last opportunities to visit Alice, the world’s tenth largest tunnel boring machine, that is building the twin road tunnels at Waterview, and will soon disappear back underground to complete the second tunnel.

Mr Bridges also took an early drive through the first of the two tunnels which was completed at the end of September and got an up-close look at Alice before she makes a start building the second tunnel later this week.

“The $1.4 billion Waterview Connection project is New Zealand’s largest ever roading project. It is a very significant part of the strong investment the Government is providing in the strategic motorway system Auckland needs to support and serve its population and economic growth.

“The Waterview connection will link the southwestern and northwestern motorways, completing the long awaited Western Ring Route, one of the Government’s seven Roads of National Significance.

“It is one of five projects that will complete the strategic motorway network that is needed and when the route opens in 2017 it will transform the way we move around Auckland,” Mr Bridges says.

Alice is now sitting in front of the portal for the second tunnel, which is just off Great North Road in Waterview. On Wednesday Alice will set off on boring the first 350 metres before stopping at the end of January while her full entourage of trailing gantries assembles behind her. 

Full tunnelling is expected to resume in March with Alice’s next public appearance expected to be in September 2015 when she breaks through the southern portal of the northbound tunnel, 2.4 kilometres away in Owairaka.

“It’s been a great opportunity today to come to Waterview and see the impressive work that has taken place over the last couple of years and to see Alice, whose work is attracting international interest,” Mr Bridges says.

“When the second tunnel is finished and this project completed early in 2017, Aucklanders will have a new 5km, six-lane motorway link from the Great North Road interchange at Waterview to Maioro Street in Mt Roskill, completing the long-awaited Western Ring Road,” Mr Bridges says.

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