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Soletanche Bachy International playing its part in the modernisation of the Auckland waterfront

To host international events, the city of Auckland in New Zealand launched the Downtown Infrastructure Development Programme (DIDP). Its aim is to make the waterfront more resistant to earthquakes, more pleasant and functional. Soletanche Bachy International is deploying a foundation solution that combines piles, anchors, and jet grouting.

Auckland’s waterfront is the city’s showcase neighbourhood, and a key transport hub near the Britomart train station, the ferry terminal, and many bus lines. In 2021, Auckland is due to host two major international events: the America’s Cup and the annual meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).

It is for this reason, the city authorities launched the Downtown Infrastructure Development Programme (DIDP). The DIDP’s aim is to transform the waterfront, bringing its infrastructure up to 21st century standards, given that the area has undergone no significant upgrade since its construction between 1879 and 1925.

The package of works comprises of the following:

  • Anti-seismic reinforcing of the road and utility services network behind the existing seawall.
  • Modification of the existing quayside with the creation of six pontoon docking points for the city’s ferries.
  • The development of public areas along the quayside.
  • Remodelling of Quay Street, reducing road traffic to give priority to pedestrians and cyclists.

Soletanche Bachy is playing a key role is the project to reshape this area of Auckland. “The Downtown Joint Venture”, which comprises of Soletanche Bachy International (33%), Downer NZ (leader, 33%) and HEB Construction (33%), signed a contract worth $NZ195 million with the commissioning authority, Auckland Transport, in May 2019.

The works mainly involve reinforcing the back of the existing seawall. Under the Early Contractor Involvement agreement, Soletanche Bachy International proposed a technical alternative to meet a dual objective: optimising the project schedule to complete the works prior to the major events in 2021, and adapting the construction techniques to accommodate the dense urban environment and the different geological conditions in the waterfront area.

Several techniques will be employed on different parts of the quay:

  • Vertical bars and anchoring stays on the section of the ferry basin (due to start early October 2019)
  • Auger Bored cast in-situ piles, bored with the support of temporary segmental casings along the full depth of the pile on the Queens to Marsden Wharf section (started in August 2019)
  • Jet grouting on the Princes Wharf section (scheduled to start end October 2019)
  • Bored piles will also be installed for the construction of the mooring points along Queens Wharf.

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