I realise it might seem like fairly late notice however if you intend to make a submission about Puhoi to Warkworth then you only have a few days left as submissions close at 5pm on Friday. The details for how to make a submission are on the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) website while the detailed documents from the NZTA to support the proposal can be found here.
This video shows the route being proposed.
I haven’t yet put together my submission (that will be a task for the next few days) however with this post I’m going to highlight some of the areas I will be focussing on.
Like so many other projects that are going on at the moment, I do agree that some improvements need to be made to the route between Puhoi and Warkworth however I disagree with the scale of the solution. There seems to be a prevailing attitude from the government and transport agencies that if we’re going to build something, then instead of small and targeted upgrades we should just bite the bullet and build the long term solution that we might not 30 years. It may sound like a good idea to effectively “build once” but the downside is it sucks up transport funding for other projects that might provide a better return on investment, even if just in the short term.
There is some evidence of this when we compare some of the information in the executive summary with some older reports/studies of the project. This part is from the executive summary although I have cut out a section between the two paragraphs:
Over the decade to 2012, the NZTA carried out a series of studies on the State highway network connecting the Auckland and Northland regions. These studies considered the role of the State highway network in relation to the wider transport system between Auckland and Northland.
The studies concluded that an off-line four-lane motorway alternative to the existing SH1 will achieve the strategic objectives of supporting economic development in northland, will address transport constraints imposed by the existing alignment of SH1, and will address traffic congestion and safety issues on SH1 .
While it is true that the previous studies had recommended an offline motorway as the best long term option, they also said that the only part worth doing was a bypass around Warkworth. Other sections of the road from Puhoi to Warkworth were expensive and provided little economic benefit as it was considered that there was little opportunity for substantial economic growth in Northland. In other words while a motorway might be the ideal situation, it doesn’t make sense. Of course that all changed after the current government were elected in 2008 and quickly declared the route a road of national significance.
Some people may think that this part is not that important – at least for the consenting process which is mainly about how to mitigate the negative impacts caused by the construction and operation of this road. However I think it is critically important. If we don’t need to build the road at all then we can not only save ourselves a huge amount of money that can go towards upgrades to the existing route and other projects, but we can avoid completely damaging the environment where the new road will go through.
And those environmental impacts are going to be huge with massive amounts of earthworks needed to get the route to motorway standard. To give you an idea of the amount of change to the landscape that is proposed, there will be some embankments up to 46.5m high and some cuts into hills up to 45.8m deep. In total over 8 million m³ of fill will be needed, that’s 6-7 times what is being taken out of Waterview. In addition there are 7 major viaducts, 5 bridges with the highest being 46m high – that’s similar in height to driving over the Harbour Bridge.
Now it might be possible to mitigate the impacts of building and operating the road however the big issue is the cost of doing so. As a result of what is already proposed the project is expected to cost $760 million which means the road needs to deliver a lot of benefits to be viable and that is where things start to get shaky. As mentioned previous economic assessment ranked everything but a bypass of Warkworth uneconomic. There isn’t a whole lot of information about the current business case with the only economic information talking about the high level economic effects of the project. The NZTA should be releasing the full business case for this project, not just an 8 page letter.
Of course many of the economic benefits are meant to accrue to the users of the road through travels savings along with safety improvements. The traffic assessment report provides information about this but the thing that catches me is that all through the report it comments that the project is primarily an issue during holiday times while that at other times of the year the road is relatively free.
And shortly after
To sum all of that up, the problems on the road that cause congestion happen during the summer months when heaps of people are going away on holiday to the beaches primarily to the east of Warkworth. The rest of the time it handles less traffic than many single lane arterials in Auckland. Spending hundreds of millions (latest estimate I saw was $760m) just so that some people going on holiday can get to their baches a few minutes quicker hardly seems like a good use our money.
I think a really useful outcome from this process would be to get a fully independent assessment of the transport and economic reports, much like we saw come out recently about the Basin Bridge. If you are going to submit then perhaps consider adding that to your submission.
Lastly if you are an expert in any of the fields that want to help with a submission then please let me know.
An intriguing joint media release from NZTA and Auckland Transport emerged on Monday afternoon – highlighting a different approach to community consultation from the two transport agencies on the East West Link project going forward:
The NZ Transport Agency and Auckland Transport are asking community groups to help the two organisations find the best transport solutions to better link an economically growing south-west and south-east Auckland.
Existing transport in this important area – which includes Auckland International Airport, Mangere, Otahuhu, Onehunga, Penrose and East Tamaki – is already inadequate and with projected job growth there will be increasing pressure to better manage that increasing demand.
“We know that there are community concerns about a potential motorway solution, but there are a number of ways in which we can meet that demand. We do not have a preferred option – motorway or otherwise. We are asking communities to work with us to find the best possible answer to an important issue that will affect jobs, the streets families live in, and the way people and freight can move safely around this area,” says the Transport Agency’s Highways Manager, Tommy Parker.
Auckland Transport Key Agency Initiatives Group Manager, Rick Walden, says working openly with the community is a priority.
“We wanted to better understand the transport needs of this area, which we had been doing through local boards and other key stakeholders, before we began wider consultation. We’ve sensed a growing concern in the communities about this approach and acknowledge that we should have engaged the wider community from the start. We’ve heard what people have to say and we are responding to that immediately. We want to begin a more collaborative approach to discussing the issues and how best to deal with them together,” Mr Walden says.
“We want to work through issues like better public transport, walking, cycling and roading infrastructure with those communities.”
To be honest, this is fairly unsurprising outcome given the significant community backlash against the incredibly secretive process that NZTA and AT have undertaken so far in advancing the East West Link. Although this secretive process only seemed to extend to the local community as I have heard that businesses in Highbrook – and likely other areas – had already been approached for their thoughts on the various plans.
As I’ve discussed in recent posts, “Option 4″ for the East West Link is an incredibly stupid, expensive and destructive project and it’s quite incredible that planning for it seemingly got so far down the track, despite the sustained opposition from the local board who were one of the only groups we know for certain that has been consulted with.
Option 4 isn’t the only bad option with Option 3 being quite destructive and likely very expensive.
Of course the media release was timed ahead of tomorrow’s first Infrastructure Committee meeting, where the Respect our Community Coalition who oppose the East West Link motorway will share their concerns with the Councillors. There’s also a report updating the Committee on the project, which surely gives the Councillors a great opportunity to share their concerns with the way Auckland Transport and NZTA have been advancing it over the past few months. Expect a few sparks to fly.
We’ve also proposed an alternative solution that would still provide many of the benefits of the East-West link but without needing to go to the great expense that is options 3 or 4.
While it’s obviously a good thing that NZTA and AT have recognised the errors of their ways in how they’ve advanced the project to date, I somehow doubt it’s completely dead yet. Once the road engineers get excited about a project, it takes a lot of effort to stop them.
Last week we saw some images of what the proposed flyover around the basin reserve might look like. They came about as the proposal is currently going through the fast tracked Board of Inquiry (BOI) process and the board required the NZTA to provide them. Also released along with the images is a peer review of the traffic and transportation related aspects of the NZTA’s application. The outcome of the review is extremely interesting and raises a number of questions not just about this particular project but many others too. The most concerning part of the review relates to how the preferred option was chosen however there were other important issues raised.
The information provided for the BOI process shows that the NZTA had examined quite a decent number of alternatives from different consultants in the past. Opus who were doing the alternatives review for the NZTA narrowed the alternatives down to 5 main options (each with some sub options). These were described as options A to E of which A and B involved the use of an elevated structure – like currently planned while options C and D were at grade options. Option E retained State Highway 1 at grade and raised the local roads over it but was not thought to be feasible.
Opus then put the various options through a qualitative evaluation and selected Option A as the best one. The peer reviewers say they have attempted to replicate the results and they say that their analysis shows that actually option D performed best. What’s more is that the numbers from Opus suggest that Option D is $25m to $60m cheaper and has a better Benefit Cost Ratio too. So why did option A come out on top? the reviewers have noted the comment ”…the differences between the at-grade and grade-separated options in terms of economic benefits and BCR is relatively small for an urban project of this nature…“. In other words it doesn’t really matter about the cost and while Option D had a better BCR and was cheaper yet it it was dismissed as the predicted traffic time savings from Option A were much better. They say this doesn’t mean that Option A shouldn’t have been chosen but it becomes important when considering the next part.
After the government started talked about putting Buckle St into a tunnel in front of the War Memorial the NZTA looked at a range of tunnel options for the project. These were named Option F to M with Option F being the preferred one out of that group. It was then compared against Option A but crucially it used different assessment criteria to what was used in the earlier stages. In the assessment criteria the tunnel performed much better than Option A but was dismissed due to the estimated cost of the project. They note (and the emphasis is theirs:
2.17 – In the opinion of the reviewers, Option F provides better overall outcomes to Option A in respect of the criteria it has been assessed against. However, it appears that Option F has not been selected on the basis of it being too expensive to construct.
2.18 – While the reviewers acknowledge that cost is a very important consideration in the evaluation of any project, the weighting assigned to this factor does not appear to be consistent with the approach used to identify Options A and B as being preferred to Options C and D in the evaluation of the initial options. In that instance, the assessment concluded that a difference in BCR of circa 0.5 was insignificant for a project of this scale. Whilst the reviewers do not share this view, the difference in BCR between Option A and Option F is likely to be of this magnitude given the additional costs of Option F and the similar level of benefits generated by each option.
2.19 - The apparent inconsistency and lack of transparency in the underlying process by which options have been compared at different stages of the project is a significant concern of the reviewers.
So cost wasn’t a factor when deciding to go for a bridge vs an at grade option but was a factor when choosing between a bridge and a tunnel.
The reviews go further saying that they aren’t able to double check the actual tunnel costs as the breakdown of them wasn’t included in the report like the other options were. That’s not to say the costs mentioned are wrong but that they haven’t been able to be reviewed.
There was also quite a bit of concern around the pedestrian and cycling facilities being provided. They say:
Whilst the project upgrades existing facilities and provides new facilities to the north, east and to a certain extent to the south, there is almost no provision to the west of the reserve in terms of cycle or shared paths or crossing facilities for pedestrians / cyclists. Cyclists travelling northbound on Adelaide Road who then wish to head west would be required to travel through the Basin Reserve coming out onto the shared area and use the crossing on Cambridge Terrace before continuing westbound through the War Memorial Park. This is a circuitous route compared to following Rugby Street and Sussex Street and is unlikely to appeal to all cyclists. The reviewers observe that the provision for cyclists on the western side of the Basin Reserve is not ideal.
Section 7.1.3 of TR4 also assumes that pedestrian and cyclist demand “is forecast to grow at 2% per annum”. However this does not match with Mr Dunlop’s evidence which provides information obtained from the WCC Transport Monitoring Surveys (2009 – 2013) that show a 62% increase over a five year period for cyclists at the John Street intersection (which may in part be due to the Countdown supermarket opening in the interim) and 123% increase over a five year period for pedestrians at the crossing of Buckle Street west of the Basin Reserve.
It is unclear if there is a particular reason for these significant increases. For example, if the increase in cycling demand at the John Street intersection is due in part to the opening of the Countdown supermarket then this may suggest a similar increase could occur on Rugby Street where the consented New World supermarket is to be built. If the future pedestrian and cyclist demand follows the trend shown in the WCC Transport Monitoring Surveys rather than the predicted 2% then potentially the pedestrian and cyclist facilities could be insufficient or under-designed
The evidence of Mr Dunlop also states that pedestrian and cyclist movements could “…double following the duplication of the Mt Victoria tunnel and associated improvements to the existing poor cycle and pedestrian facilities linking the south east”. This, in combination with the recent large observed increases in pedestrian activity in the general vicinity of the project, raise some questions over the suitability of the design of the proposed shared path facility. The reviewers consider the suitability of the 3m wide shared facility should be reviewed in light of the potential significant increases in walking and cycling activity that may eventuate over that currently experienced. Of particular interest to the reviewers is the large speed differential that may exist on the ramp between cyclists travelling downhill and other users, and the lack of escape route for users travelling too fast to avoid a collision.
If the growth in cycling continues like it has then getting the cycling facilities right will be crucial.
All up the reviewers have listed 49 key issues they found with the report, some serious where they are saying the NZTA needs to provide a lot more information though to some which are just a comment but no action is required for. I wonder if we will be able to get the BOI for Puhoi to Warkworth to require a similar independent peer review?
As part of the EPA process, the NZTA have released some new images showing before and afters of the ugly flyover they are proposing called the Basin Bridge.
Congratulations to the NZTA for coming up with a really unique way to raise some money for charity.
Waterview Xmas gift for Philippines typhoon victims
The giant tunnel boring machine called Alice at Auckland’s Waterview Connection motorway project is at the centre of the workers’ initiative to raise money for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.
People will have a chance to have a “date” with Alice by bidding for tickets on the Trade Me website for the opportunity to visit the machine. Four separate auctions are planned, and the proceeds from them will be donated to the Red Cross Typhoon Haiyan appeal.
The NZ Transport Agency’s Highways Manager for Auckland, Tommy Parker, says the auction was an idea from the Waterview project’s workforce, which includes 10 from the Philippines.
“The devastation and suffering caused by Typhoon Haiyan has hit home with the project’s very multi-national team. One engineer had an agonising eight-day wait to find out if his family was safe in the Philippines, and another ‘s wife still has not heard from her parents and four brothers who are living in one of the worst-hit areas.”
Mr Parker says the four successful bidders on Trade Me will get a once-in-a-lifetime tour of the project, which is the largest roading and most challenging project ever undertaken in New Zealand. The tour will include a visit to Alice, who will then be well underground on the first leg of her two-year journey from Owairaka to Waterview and back. Ticket holders will be guided by internationally experienced tunnelling experts.
Waterview Connection workers have already donated several hundred dollars from their own pockets to the typhoon appeal, which is being matched dollar for dollar by the Well-Connected Alliance delivering the project to complete the Western Ring Route.
Mr Parker says the auctions for dates with Alice will close on Sunday 15 December.
“We hope people will generously support this worthwhile appeal – a date with Alice will make a perfect Christmas gift.”
I doubt there are many times anywhere in the world where a member of the general public would have the opportunity to tour a live tunnelling machine.
The auctions can be found here.
Earlier this year, the NZTA launched a new social media campaign, called Drive Social. There are some major issues with the campaign, which would have been oh-so-easy to solve.
The NZTA gets frustratingly close to talking about other road users besides car drivers – saying the campaign was centred around the question, “If we stopped thinking ‘cars’ and started thinking ‘people’, would it change the way we drive?”. They also say:
“At its heart, the advertising poses a common question: If the road is a social space, is this behaviour really that safe for everyone who shares the road?”
Having almost raised the idea that other people (motorcyclists, cyclists, joggers, public transport users) are road users too, they seem to back right off in the campaign itself. These other users aren’t mentioned or shown on the billboards, or on the website, or on the Facebook page (with some minor exceptions).
This picture, currently used as the header at the top of the Drive Social Facebook page, is noticeably devoid of human life, apart from the single occupant in each car. No cyclists, or people out for a walk. Not even a motorbike peeking out from behind a car, maybe in someone’s blind spot – that’d make people think. The image does carry a message about being patient when driving on the highway, or on holiday weekends, but it would have been so simple to expand it just a little bit.
Someone up in Whangarei made this point rather well, modifying one of the Drive Social billboards (the black lines aren’t part of the original design):
To the NZTA’s credit, they’ve put this photo up as a talking point on their Facebook page. The bigger test, I’d say, is whether they have allowed the billboard to remain this way (can anyone in Whangarei answer this?)
Ultimately, the NZTA is trying to improve road safety with this campaign. And people in cars are not the only people who are exposed to danger on the road. As per the stats here, motorcyclists and pedestrians make up a big share of road deaths. Cyclists make up a smaller share, but still much higher than their share of travel would suggest. If the NZTA wants to make inroads into road safety, it needs to start talking about these high-risk groups.
Another issue, raised here, is that the campaign could have lent itself quite well to encouraging carpooling (or ride sharing, which is essentially ad-hoc carpooling). But it doesn’t.
The Greens have attacked the campaign, calling it a waste of money and pointing out that the $1.6 million used to make it could have subsidised a million public transport trips. Cue hyperbolic response from the PM: “The Greens are opposed to roads and that’s because they want everyone to either to walk or cycle”. I don’t think the entire campaign can be labelled a waste of money, but by gosh it could have been so much better.
Reading through the NZTA’s material around the campaign, it seems like this is the starting point, and that they’ll build the “drive social” slogan into their other advertising work. There’s room to improve – the campaign just needs a bit of tweaking.
A paper to the Auckland Transport board shows just how easy it is for our existing transport plans to be changed to accommodate new motorway projects. It comes about due to the governments announcement that they were fast tracking a series of roading projects around Auckland. The issue is that the projects aren’t in the current Regional Land Transport Programme which sets out the projects that will be built over a three year period (2012-2015) and are technically not allowed to be funded our of the National Land Transport Fund. In other words without them being on the list, the NZTA are not allowed to pay for them and therefore build them.
But fear not as AT say:
Section 106 (2) of the Land Transport Management Act requires Auckland Transport to adopt a policy that determines significance in respect of variations made to the RLTP.
In deciding whether a proposed variation is significant, Auckland Transport will assess whether or not the proposed variation meets the following guideline:
“The inclusion of a construction phase for a new state highway project with a total activity or project cost greater than 10 per cent of the activity class New and Improved Infrastructure for State Highways in the RLTP”. (Ref: Regional Land Transport Programme, pg. 74).”
The 2012/15 RLTP includes total provision of $1.4 billion for the ‘New and Improved Infrastructure State Highways’ activity class. The elements of the new projects proposed for inclusion in the 2012-15 RLTP are listed in Table 1 above. Forecast 2012-15 expenditure for the individual projects does not exceed 10% of the total cost of the ‘New and Improved Infrastructure for State Highways’ activity class included in the 2012-15 RLTP, so are not considered significant under the ‘Significance Policy’ described in the 2012-15 RLTP.
This means that they can be included in the RLTP without the need for public consultation. Full public consultation on the remanding phases of the projects will be carried out in the course of developing the 2015/18 RLTP.
There’s always a loophole for motorways isn’t there.
The projects that are being added are below
(a). Northern Corridor:
1) SH1 Greville Road Interchange Upgrade
2) SH18 improvements between SH1 and Unsworth Drive
3) SH1 Upper Harbour Highway to Greville Road Northbound three laning
4) Northern Busway Extension (Constellation to Albany)
5) SH18 to SH1 Motorway-to-Motorway Connection
(b). Southern Corridor:
6) Southern Corridor Improvements, which includes:
• Takanini Northbound three laning to north of the rail overbridge
• Takanini to Papakura three laning – Northbound and Southbound
• SH20 to Hill Road Southbound four laning;
• Takanini Interchange Upgrade
(c). Airport Access Corridor
7) SH20A to Auckland Airport
While the table below shows how much these are expected to cost.
I imagine it would have been fairly embarrassing for the government if it had to go through some public consultation and the public rejected the projects.
I guess the only consolation is that the extension of the Northern busway to Albany is on the list.
A truck has crashed on the southern motorway southbound and is already causing a lot of congestion on the motorway. If at all possible I’d recommend catching the train home
Crash closes Southern Motorway southbound
All three southbound lanes of Auckland’s Southern Motorway (State Highway 1) at Greenlane have been closed after a concrete truck crashed just south of the Greenlane interchange.
The NZ Transport Agency says congestion is already severe and it may take some time for the queues to clear.
A single lane of traffic is being diverted past the crash scene along the motorway shoulder. The Transport Agency is also advising drivers to leave the motorway at Market Road or Greenlane.
There will be long delays, and traffic on arterial roads is likely to be heavy.
Northbound lanes of the Southern Motorway remain open, but the Transport Agency says drivers heading north should not slow down at the crash scene.
As you can see from the image below congestion is already pretty severe (black) southbound all the way from the bridge and that is only likely to get worse
Perhaps at times like this AT should have a special rate that allows for drivers who have driven their car in to town to leave it there overnight and catch a train home. Who knows it might get people to give the trains a go and realise they’re not too bad.
We have talked quite a bit about how we are in the middle of a generational shift when it comes to transport with the most notable change being that younger people are choosing to drive less than older generations. It seems the mainstream media are finally starting to catch up to this fact with the herald yesterday reporting:
More Kiwi seniors are driving than 10 years ago, while more younger people are opting to be car-free.
A new survey shows the proportion of over 65s who drive has grown by about 10 per cent in the past decade to 91.4 per cent.
That equates to about 170,000 more senior motorists on the road, making over 65s the third largest bloc of road users, behind 35- to 49-year-olds and 50- to 64-year-olds.
The research by Roy Morgan shows seniors are now more likely than under 35s to drive.
“The decline in driving among younger people correlates to an increase in public transport usage,” Roy Morgan general manager Pip Elliott said.
“For instance, in the year to August 2003, 25 per cent of all 25-34 year-olds travelled by bus within an average three months; in the year to August 2013, this had risen to 30 per cent.”
The increase in over 65s is likely to be the baby boomer generation – the most keen driving generation of them all – starting to move into the over 65 category. The article also notes:
In all age groups except over 65s, the proportion of the population who drive has dropped over the past 10 years.
Nationwide there are now three million drivers, an increase of almost 400,000 over the past decade, but the overall proportion of drivers in the population has declined slightly to 84.3 per cent.
We have shown before that we are seeing this trend through a number of different measures. The number of driver licences being issued has fallen dramatically over the last few years.
Some of the more recent changes are due to the increasing of the age limit for learners but that happened in 2011 and we still aren’t seeing any increases despite higher pass rates.
On other measures we are seeing trends with the number of new cars and the distance people travel also decreasing on a per capita basis and especially in Auckland.
With all of this going on, it’s interesting to see that the NZTA has obviously also noticed the trend and recently put out a request for some research on what was needed for public transport to serve younger generations. It is titled Public transport and the next generation and the key parts of the request are:
What does Generation Y want out of Public Transport (PT)? How do we meet the needs of Generation Y and are there any significant barriers to Generation Y using PT? Will Generation Y shift from PT to private vehicles at the same rate as previous generations?
Generation Y is also known as the Millennials and consists of those born from about the early 1980s onward. Today they are aged between about 16 and 32. There are some international indicators that this group is driving less and using other modes like public transport and cycling in greater numbers than the previous generation.
This research should explore the transport patterns of Generation Y in New Zealand and identify whether they are following international trends of driving less.
The research should also identify any barriers inherent in our PT system for the next generation. In particular it would be beneficial to know what features of PT are attractive and valuable to this next generation.
This sounds like really interesting research and something we will keep a close eye on.
Slightly unrelated but at the same time as that piece of research was being advertised the NZTA also put out another request for research on public transport that we will keep a close eye on the results of. It is titled Benefits and risks from improvements to public transport infrastructure such as improvements to or new bus interchanges, bus stops and bus lanes.
What are the NZ specific benefits, and risks to be managed, as a result of new and improved public transport infrastructure particularly bus interchanges, bus stops and bus lanes ?
What strategies and methods can be employed to justify and encourage optimal provision for public transport infrastructure such as bus interchanges, bus stops and bus lanes on major public transport corridors and in city centres where there is plenty of commercial and residential car parking?
There is a need for an evidence base that can demonstrate to the benefits, including economic value, of investing in public transport infrastructure and facilities.
The sector lacks evidence, specifically robust NZ evidence, of the economic, social and environmental benefits that can be achieved as a result of improved infrastructure associated with public transport bus services.
For example, there is growing realisation that poorly conceived car parking policies are an impediment to creating an effective and balanced urban transport system, and that this can exacerbate traffic congestion and air pollution. It can also result in a less liveable city environment.
Evidence of this knowledge gap is often demonstrated when car parking spaces next to shops are removed or intended to be removed and replaced with a bus interchange, bus stop or bus lane.
At present there is insufficient knowledge of the evidence to convince business owners, political leaders and other stakeholders that investment in public transport infrastructure like bus interchanges, bus stops and bus lanes should be made at the expense of car parking in some cases. There is also insufficient evidence on how to manage the risks associated with these improvements.
Reading both those research proposals almost brings a tear to the eye so great work NZTA for actually looking into them.
The NZTA has been holding an open day on the Waterview Connection to give the public a chance to view the works that have been going on and see Alice – the massive tunnel boring machine that will soon start digging the tunnels. People wanting to visit needed to have signed up for a free ticket a few weeks ago and the NZTA have said that all of the 20,000 tickets were snapped up fairly quickly.
Expecting a lot of people, the NZTA even encouraged people to get there using public transport and put on a free and frequent shuttle from the Mt Albert Train station however stupidly – and this is probably on Auckland Transport – nothing was done about the crappy hourly frequencies on the western line or being a Sunday that services don’t go past Henderson. It’s dumb things like this that put people off even trying PT.
I went along for a look so here are some of the photo’s I took.
Looking South towards the new Richardson Rd bridge
The large elevated structure is a huge conveyor belt that extends from the end of the TBM all the way out of the trench to a processing building . It is apparently acoustically protected to help reduce the noise impact on locals.
The re-aligned Oakley Creek. The new sections actually look better than the old trench the creek used to be in.
The Segment Yard where all of the concrete wall panels are managed before being sent to the TBM for installation.
Looking down into the trench
Further down into the trench you can see the back of the TBM along with the artwork showing where the second tunnel will emerge. The crane that hovers above the site is able to lift 600 tonnes
Getting further into the trench.
The people help give some perspective to how big the machine is.
The cutting shield
Looking south out of the trench.
One of the wall segments that will be installed in the tunnel. A sticker says it weighs 9,900kg