Construction company McConnell Dowell will receive a new micro tunnel boring machine (MTBM) in the next few weeks. After arriving in New Zealand the machine will settle in Silverdale where it will make its way underground from the existing Watercare Pump Station off Millwater Parkway Orewa to a new series of subdivisions north of Grand Drive.

Major residential developments are already underway in the area bringing tens of thousands of residents to Rodney and the Hibiscus Coast. The largest development, Millwater, will house more than 10,000 residents with around 3500 homes planned.

Despite the fact that there is a shortage of homes in Auckland, roads, water, sewerage and gas all have to be in place at the right time to bring people to a new area,” says Michael Buckland, construction manager for McConnell Dowell. “Having all your ducks in a row with all services in place means residents can settle into an area and enjoy the lifestyle on offer right way.”

McConnell Dowell is laying 3.15 kms of wastewater pipeline for Watercare using microtunnelling trenchless technology. The waste water will flow through the pipeline through gravity offering significant advantages during construction and operation in terms of safety, environmental and community impact.

According to tunnelling tradition throughout the world, a Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) cannot start work until it is given a name. Just like Alice at Waterview, this new machine will be given a woman’s name as a sign of good luck for the project. Local primary school children from Kingsway, Silverdale and Orewa Primary Schools are being given the opportunity to enter a competition to name the MTBM, researching famous New Zealand women in history for inspiration. The winner will be announced on July 25th.

Other wastewater micro tunnelling work carried out by McConnell Dowell includes the $83.5M Christchurch Ocean Outfall, the largest civil engineering project undertaken by the Christchurch City Council prior to the Canterbury earthquakes. At 3km long, this is one of the longest outfalls in New Zealand and required the longest micro tunnel drive of its type in the southern hemisphere at that time at 870m.

McConnell Dowell is part of the Well-Connected Alliance, managing the design, construction and operation of the Waterview Connection project, a $1.4b Road of National Significance, and one of the most important infrastructure developments ever to take place in New Zealand. Completing a motorway ring route around the city, the connection will deliver 5km of 6-lane motorway through and beneath Auckland’s western suburbs, linking State Highways 16 and 20 to complete the city’s Western Ring Route by 2017.


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