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Ocean Outfall ‘ground breaking ceremony’

4 April 2007

Today’s ground breaking ceremony marks the start of the tunnelling phase for the $87 million Christchurch City Council Ocean Outfall project.

The ceremony took place at the construction site at South New Brighton Park, with the tunnelling machine being unveiled. Although manufactured in Germany, it is painted in patriotic red and black Canterbury colours.

Christchurch Mayor Garry Moore says the tunnelling machine has enabled a world class solution. "Compared to traditional construction methods, it is more environmentally sound and less disruptive to the local community and recreational users in the vicinity of the pipeline route.

"Today’s ceremony marks yet another milestone in the progress of the biggest construction project the Council has undertaken. Ironically, we won’t be able to see much of the hard work and when it’s completed, there will be even less to see but the benefits to the city are immense," says Mr Moore.

The 55 tonne tunnelling machine, shipped over specifically for this project, arrived in five pieces and is being assembled on-site.

CEO of McConnell Dowell Constructors Ltd, the pipeline contractor, Roger McRae, says it is a tradition that construction machinery is named.

McConnell Dowell sought assistance from pupils at South New Brighton School. Year 8 pupil Roy Toner suggested the selected name - ‘Dora the Bora’ which is now emblazoned on the machine.

The machine will be lowered into the 12m deep jacking pit. Each section of pipe is progressively pushed forward behind the machine.

The first tunnel will be from the Park under the Avon-Heathcote Estuary across to the pumping station site on the edge of an oxidation pond at the Christchurch Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The distance is about 875 metres. The tunnelling will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week progressing about 15 meters a day. It is expected to start late April or early May and take about two months.

The pipeline will take the city’s treated wastewater from the oxidation ponds at the Christchurch Wastewater Treatment Plant to 3km out into Pegasus Bay instead of discharging it into the Avon-Heathcote Estuary.

A pumping station is being constructed on the edge of one of the oxidation ponds at the Wastewater Treatment Plant. Sheet piling has been completed. The site is being dewatered and excavated in preparation for the foundations.

The Ocean Outfall project is on schedule for completion by the end of 2008.

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