New Zealand: March and Bessac win the Mount Eden contract, part of the CRL project

In Auckland, a new contract has been awarded to the joint-venture combining the Group's local subsidiary, March Construction, and Bessac's teams. The alliance of cutting-edge expertise and in-depth knowledge of the terrain provided the guarantee of success for this new contract as part of the City Rail Link (CRL) project, the first involving the southern end of the scheme.

The joint-venture made up of Soletanche Bachy’s local subsidiary March Construction and Bessac, one of our subsidiaries specialising in micro-tunnelling, has just won a new contract for evacuation of storm water in Mount Eden, a suburb of Auckland and the highest point in the city at 196m above sea level.

The work involves the construction of a storm water tunnel between Water Street and Nikau Street, two residential streets some 400m apart, which called for the replacement of the existing storm-water pipe that was in the path of the CRL tunnels.

Among the key factors in winning this contract were the quality of the proposal by the sales team, the recognised expertise and experience of the March Construction-Bessac joint-venture in New Zealand and elsewhere in terms of underground works and pipejacking, and also a degree of innovation which allowed Bessac to propose an alternative system of laying pipes adapted to local and environmental constraints.

The chosen solution was to install the pipe in a single run with a micro-tunnel boring machine, instead of two envisaged under the client’s initial solution. To respond to all the project’s constraints, the route involves two very tight bends, with a minimum radius of 150m. The pipes used must be equipped with special joints of the right dimensions to fit this curve. This innovative procedure has already been employed by Bessac’s teams on a site in the Paris region.

This alternative meant a shorter timetable and a reduced volume of work, thanks to the elimination of one shaft resulting in an overall saving time’ work. “As a result of the contractors’ smart thinking, the works will be less disruptive and will take less time than first anticipated. That’s a win for the project and for the neighbours,” said Chris Meale, project manager for the CRL.

Meale said this was an important stage for the overall programme: “The focus to date has been in the city centre with the Britomart and Albert Street works. In the New Year, we started some early works at Mount Eden in anticipation of the tunnel and stations main contract award in 2019.”

Preliminary work on the Albert Street site is due to start in early 2018, between Wellesley Street and Victoria Street. Soletanche Bachy, through the Major Projects division and its local subsidiary March Construction, as part of a consortium with Downer NZ, is already working on the CRL site in the heart of Auckland, where the teams are participating in the construction of two rail tunnels under the city’s first post office, a historic building that is now home to the Britomart Transport Centre.

To find out more about this major site on the CRL