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For this morning's audioconferences you headed back to one of the Waterview Connection site offices. Dominic Preest took time out of his busy work schedule to answer questions from Banks Avenue School and Marco School. Dominic is a shift engineer and enjoyed answering questions about the tunnel.
Big machines for big jobs
It was interesting to hear that Alice the Tunnel Boring Machine is the largest TBM operating in the world at the moment. She may not be the largest machine overall but at least she hasn’t broken down. The largest machine in the world nicknamed 'Big Bertha' is currently out of action. Bertha was boring a tunnel under Seattle to replace the aging Alaskan Way Viaduct when she got stuck and stopped working. Crews must now replace broken seals inside the machine. This means that a shaft will have to be drilled below the surface to open up the area in front of the machine's cutterhead to give access for people to fix the machine. Thankfully there have been no such problems with Alice. You can listen to the audioconferences to find out more about Alice.
Once today's audioconferences were complete you met with Glen Kirk from the Well-Connected Alliance. Glen talked about what the Alliance is and how it works. There are seven large organisations that have come together to do most of the work on the Waterview Connection. By forming an alliance lots of different people can bring the best skills and knowledge to the project. There are workers from over thirty different countries in the alliance and Glen explained that a lot of work had to be done on creating a good team culture before construction even started. You can find out more by watching the video.
Creating better spaces and places
Glen is one of the construction managers at Waterview and he obviously loves his job. He took you up onto the half-built Hendon Footbridge to get a view of construction at the southern approach to the tunnel. Glen proudly showed off the work that has been done on Oakley Creek, the sports fields, bridge and wetland area. Oakley Creek has been moved to allow construction but it had already been completely changed by people. European settlers made the stream into a channel in the 1930s and now it has been rejuvenated and looks much more natural. Hundreds of native plants have been planted and a wetland area created to filter stormwater from the tunnel. People will be able to access this area via new bridges, walkways and cycle-ways. You can see this area in the panoramas.
Having a Blast
Before work on the tunnels could begin a trench had to be dug to give access to the tunnel entrance. Glen’s eyes lit up as he described the process of blasting rock to form the trench. All of the blasting took place during the day and people living nearby were notified so no one got a nasty surprise from an unexpected explosion. Watch the video about this.
A brain for the tunnel
One of the most challenging parts of construction other than boring the tunnels is creating the vent buildings. Ben Scott is a site engineer and he showed the work that is being done at the entrance to the tunnel. Construction on the Southern Vent Building has started but it took months of work on design and planning before construction could begin. The vent building is like the brain of the tunnel and is where everything from lighting to ventilation and drainage are controlled from. This building will be three storeys high and have a huge stack or chimney to release exhaust fumes to maintain air quality in and around the tunnel. The building has also been designed to look good and so that the stack fits into the local environment.
Preparing to go underground
Tomorrow you will be able to travel underground to meet Alice the Tunnel Boring Machine. Jay Lauten talked to you about some of the safety issues involved in working underground on a TBM so that you would be prepared for your visit. He reminded you of what was covered during the safety induction and made sure that you had all the correct PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). I can't wait to get into the tunnel, I'm sure It’s going to be a day to remember!
See you then.
Shelley and Dominic talk to Banks Avenue and Marco School during today's audioconferences.
Glen Kirk, one of the construction managers, shows the ambassadors around the construction site.
The Hendon Bridge is a footbridge being built as part of the Waterview Connection Project. Why do you think so much extra work is being done to provide facilities like this?
Oakley Creek was in a man-made channel. It has now been moved to make way for construction. What has been done to improve this stream and make it look more natural?
A wetland area is being created near the tunnel entrance. What will this area be used for?
Glen and Shelley overlook the Southern Approach Trench. How was this trench constructed?
Looking into the southern tunnel entrance. What do you think the pipe that comes out of the top of the tunnel is for?
The foundations for the Southern Vent Building are being constructed. What is the purpose of this building?
This is part of the new motorway. How many lanes wide do you think it is?