Sharp-eyed motorists heading north may notice our new shiny grey watermain in the lower deck of a bright red overbridge, spanning State Highway 1, near Albany.
The new pipe is part of the Northern Corridor Improvements Project, worked on jointly by Watercare and the NZ Transport Agency and sits in the lower section of the bridge. The upper portion is a new walkway/cycleway and provides better access to Albany Station and the nearby business district.
The 110-metre bridge is called ‘Tirohanga Whānui’ (panoramic view) and will be officially opened in February. The new concrete-lined steel watermain is 507mm wide and 2.5 km long. The bridge section of the pipe has been epoxy-coated, to protect it from the weather.
Project engineer Craig Matthewson with the new watermain.
Craig Matthewson, Watercare project engineer, says the new pipe project has gone very smoothly, given that much of the construction has been in busy residential areas: “The new pipeline has had to travel along East Coast Road and Spencer Road, as well as bypassing three schools, some businesses and a residential home for the elderly. Huge amounts of planning and preparation went on before-hand and the construction and reinstatement process has taken place without any issues, which is very gratifying. State Highway 1 had to be closed for short periods too while the bridge and pipe were lifted into place.
“Building the new pump station is in some ways been more challenging because we have to make sure the operations team can access the reservoirs at all times, while the construction work takes place.”
The Tirohanga Whānui bridge being installed. Photo courtesy of the Northern Corridor Improvements Project.
Once the new pump station is up and running mid-year, it will send 20 million litres of treated water through the watermain to a reservoir in Pinehill. From there, it will provide water to North Shore communities.
Currently, just one watermain supplies this region of the North Shore via an East Coast Bays watermain. A second pipe will not only increase capacity, it will also provide back-up to the East Coast Bays supply. The Albany and North Harbour regions are experiencing rapid growth and the project is expected to cater for future demand over the next 40 years.