Engineering, Passenger Rail

First phase contracts awarded for Auckland’s City Rail Link

CRL credit Auckland Transport

Auckland Transport has named a pair of construction consortia to undertake the first phase of construction for the NZ$2.5 billion City Rail Link project.

Two joint ventures were awarded contracts valued at around NZ$3 million as part of the CRL project’s first phase: the JV of Downer NZ and Soletanche Bachy, and the JV of McConnell Dowell and Hawkins.

The first JV, which is led by Downer, will progress the the early CRL work through and under Britomart Station and Queen Street to the Downtown Shopping Centre site. The contract includes establishing temporary accommodation for Britomart Station’s ticketing and customer service operations, and underpinning the former Chief Post Office building to allow construction of rail tunnels underneath it.

That Downer-led JV will also be responsible for certain upgrades to urban space and roads surrounding the project.

The second JV, between McConnell Dowell and Hawkins (known as the Connectus consortium), will construct the cut and cover tunnels under and along Albert Street from Customs Street to Wyndham Street. Work is likely to start in October this year, with the relocation of a major storm water line first on the to-do list.

Representatives of all the successful firms were pleased with the result.

Roger McRae, managing director of McConnell Dowell, said: “McConnell Dowell and Hawkins have a combined history of over 100 years in infrastructure construction in New Zealand.

“It’s enormously satisfying to be working together on a transport project that is helping to shape the future.”

“We are excited to have won a contract for what will be the most significant improvement to Auckland’s transport network since the opening of the Auckland Harbour Bridge,” Downer NZ’s general manager of new business, Chris Moloney added.

The CRL will link Britomart and the city centre with the existing western line near Mount Eden, via an underground rail line.

Auckland Transport says the addition of the new line will mean 30,000 passengers will be able to move to the city centre every hour at peak times, with a train at least every 10 minutes in each direction along the new line.

Chris Meale, Auckland Transport’s project director for the CRL, said the new contracts were a significant step forward for the construction of the line.

“We are now definitely on the way to building a key missing link in our city’s public transport network,” Meale said.

“Once completed, the CRL will turn a one way cul-de-sac rail system at Britomart, into a two way through system that will be able to carry 30,000 people an hour, providing an efficient and reliable transport choice for Aucklanders.”