Waterview Connection Tunnels Auckland: TBM Design and Tunnelling Experiences

The Waterview Connection Project represents one of the largest infrastructure developments in New Zealand. The project comprises twin-tube road tunnels that are built using a very large diameter tunnel boring machine (TBM). The tunnels impact a large number of existing buildings and utilities as they pass beneath residential property and public reserve. The tunnels also cross beneath the North Auckland Railway branch. Accordingly, exercising ground control to minimize settlements and adverse impacts to the community are of paramount importance. The tunnel project is built under high safety standards in an urban area and with shallow cover. The report addresses the TBM design and tunnelling aspects with experiences in large diameter TBM operation for the first of the twin-tube bores from the perspective of the machine manufacturer.


For New Zealand’s largest road infrastructure project, the Waterview Connection in Auckland, one of the world’s largest TBMs successfully finished the excavation of the first of two tunnel tubes on September 29, 2014. Each bored tunnel has a length of about 2.4 km and an inner diameter of 13.1 m. Each will accommodate three lanes of traffic. The two tunnels are being excavated using one Earth Pressure Balance (EPB) Shield with a diameter of 14.41 m, customized to Auckland’s requirements and subsurface conditions.

Based on the project’s geotechnical risks and uncertainties with...

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