Central Interceptor Tunnel Boring Machine gets going again
Hiwa-i-te-Rangi, the Central Interceptor’s Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) is back tunnelling again after the Omicron variant of COVID-19 side-lined underground operators for nine days.
The TBM began tunnelling a 14.7km long super-sized tunnel from Māngere Wastewater Treatment Plant to Grey Lynn in August last year. She was out of production for nine days (26 February to 6 March) and did limited tunnelling from 7 March onwards as Ghella Abergeldie JV construction workers gradually returned from isolation.
Many positive cases were detected via on-site RAT testing and some staff were asymptomatic. All staff are fully vaccinated and follow safe working protocols.
Two shifts of TBM operators are working today and they hope to complete six tunnel rings over 24 hours and progress 10m.
Central Interceptor executive programme director, Shayne Cunis says it’s good to see Hiwa-i-te-Rangi getting going again: “It’s a great day. We’re so pleased to see our TBM staff returning to work and resuming normal tunnelling. They have highly specialised skills and experience and were impossible to replace.
“Within the next 48 hours, the TBM is due to transition from Kaawa formation to Tauranga Group soils as she heads towards the harbour.”
Since Hiwa-i-te-Rangi began her journey in August, she has advanced 500m and is now approaching Ambury Regional Park at a depth of 35m.
The Central Interceptor will improve water quality by drastically reducing wet-weather overflows into Auckland’s waterways and catering for growth. The project is due for completion in 2026.