Contractor magazine was invited into the new Waterview tunnels in Auckland to witness a safety feature test, which was one of many to be carried out before the entire Waterview Connection project is open to the public around mid April 2017.
The twin tunnels, the longest in the country at 2.4 kilometres each (twice the distance of Auckland’s Harbour Bridge) have numerous safety features including a ‘deluge’ system, capable of dropping 250 cubic metres of water for fire control.
There are five deluge storage tanks that can supply 10mm of water per minute inside each of the 173 zones of the twin tunnels (the average rainfall in Auckland each year is 1115mm). Each zone is located every 30 metres in the tunnels.
Over December 2016 one of the key project programmes was the final fit out of the tunnels and the testing and commissioning of their safety systems.
Asphalt (SMA) had already been laid and each tunnel will carry three lanes of traffic with speed restricted to 80kph and a ban on lane changing (good luck on that one with Auckland motorists!).
Panorama one is looking north west, while panorama two is looking south east. The new recreational facilities, including a skate board park, can be seen to the left of panorama one, and the northern tunnel entrances can be seen right of panorama two.
The project has been delivered on time and budget by the Well-Connected Alliance made up of the NZTA, Fletcher Construction; McConnell Dowell; Parson Brinckerhoff; Beca Infrastructure; Tonkin & Taylor; and Japanese construction company Obayashi Corporation. Sub-alliance partners are Auckland-based Wilson Tunnelling and Spanish tunnel control specialist SICE.