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Questions & Answers

Here is a summary of selected questions and answers from the third Waterview Connection field trip audioconferences.

How many people or organisations are involved with this project?

Hi Quentin, it changes all the time but there are about 920 people entering the site every day at the moment, including engineers and sub-contractors. The Waterview Connection Alliance has 7 organisations including NZTA, Fletcher's, Tonkin and Taylor and Beca. Take a look at the experts involved in this field trip to learn more about some of the people working on site and the jobs that they do. From Alain Giauque.

Is there a chance the tunnel could collapse? 

There is always a chance and the biggest risk is when the tunnel is being built. There are lots of procedures and equipment and monitoring to control the excavation process and tunnels are built to withstand large earthquakes. From Alain.

How do the homeowners feel about having a tunnel underneath them. Did you need permission from the homeowners?

Hi Jemma, there are lots of discusssions with the local community. Some houses and land gets purchased off local people, especially if they are close to the tunnel. They have a help line and a team especially set up to liaise with local people. The government does not always need permission from locals to do the work if it is a nationally important project. From Alain.

Have you ever encountered any problems while building the Waterview Connections and if so what were they?

Hi Jessia, there are always problems that must be controlled or mitigated. Large rain storms are the biggest problem in Auckland where pumps cannot keep up. Water seeping in is also a problem. Drainage must be carefully planned and monitored and overflow areas created. From Alain.

How much was the TBM and where did it come from?

Hi Alex, Alice the Tunnel Boring Machine has parts from Germany and China which were then sent to New Zealand. It was bought for $60 million - the whole project will cost $1.5 billion. From Alain.

When will the Waterview Connection be open for the public and how long did it take to complete? 

Hi Jonty, it is 90% built now but there is lots of testing of safety systems still needed so it should open early in 2017 in February or March. From Ewart Barnsley.

How will the Waterview Connection help people living in the local area?

Hi Eva, it will take a lot of traffic off local roads, it will be safer for kids to walk to school and ride their bikes. Waterview is five kilometres long and links two motorways. There are lots of community assets being built such as shared paths for riding and walking, lots of parks and things like a skate park and BMX park. From Ewart.

How much time will it save people driving through Auckland and how will it do this?

Hi Nola, that is a tricky question to answer. An estimate, depending on the time of day for driving from Auckland Airport to the centre of the city would be a saving of 10-15 minutes. All the travel will be on the motorway so no travel on slow local roads and no waiting at traffic lights or being on congested roads. From Ewart.

What happens if there is an accident in the tunnel?

Hi Jake, there are lots of systems in place to minimise the impact of an accident and keep people safe. At every 150m inside the 2.5km tunnel there is a cross passage (about 17 of them) which link the two tunnels. There is a deluge system that puts water on fires and stops fire and smoke spreading. TV cameras monitor the tunnel and electronic signs inform drivers of any closures or speed limits. There are jet fans used to ventilate the tunnels and under the road there are big drains to deal with a chemical spill.  Trucks carrying dangerous chemicals will not be allowed in the tunnel. From Ewart.

Can you tell us about how you have tried to reduce your impact on the environment while building the roads and tunnels?

Hi Jonty, Oakley Creek had to be diverted. Native eels and skinks were moved and then put back after the creek was diverted. Oakley Creek is bigger and wider with less risk of flooding now and it’s a nice habitat for native species. There has been lots of planting 250,000 trees and shrubs in total. The environment is a key part of the project and we are always monitoring our work to make sure we are not reducing the air and water quality. From Ewart.