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Deep below Karangahape Rd, tunnelling has begun for a new station as part of the $4.4 billion City Rail Link.
At the Mercury Lane entrance, two road header boring machines, named Jean Batten and Dame Valerie Adams, are excavating the station’s 203m long platform caverns for nine-car trains.
When the workforce of 160 complete the digging and temporary lining for the tunnels by September, the country’s deepest railway station will be well on the way to completion.
There is a second entrance to the station at Beresford Square.
“The noise enclosure we have built over our access shaft in Mercury Lane means that crews can work 24 hours a day. Conditions underground are maintained with fresh air continually pumped into the tunnel.
“We’re making excellent progress and are looking forward to the main tunnel boring machine arriving in September from Mt Eden,” says Jonathan Hill, the Link Alliance’s Station Manager at Karangahape.
In April, the giant tunnel-boring machine, named Dame Whina Cooper, will begin rumbling underground for two parallel tunnels from Mt Eden and under the motorway network at Spaghetti Junction to Albert St in downtown Auckland.
The 130m long boring powerhouse is made up of two main components – a rotating cutter head boring through 32m of earth a day, catching the spoil and placing it on a conveyor belt for removal; and a trail of gantries behind that with a mechanism for fixing concrete panels.
It will not be involved in mining at Karangahape but instead will use the power of its hydraulic jacks to push its way through to the north end of the station cavern to resume mining to the Aotea Station.
The CRL will have two underground stations – Karangahape and Aotea below Albert St in the city – as well as a new Mt Eden station above ground.
When completed in 2024, the tunnels from Britomart to Mt Eden will be able to carry up to 54,000 commuters an hour to and from the CBD – twice the current capacity of the rail network.
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