NX2 E530 Culvert


Customer: Fletcher Acciona Joint Venture

Contract: Construct only

Location: Warkworth, Auckland

Water & Wastewater Solutions New Zealand & Pacific Islands

Fast Facts

  • Construction of a new 2.4 m diameter culvert approx 110 m long
  • Installed via pipe-jacking and open-cut tunnelling methods
  • The new culvert diverts and connects two existing watercourses

McConnell Dowell (MCD) was awarded the construction of the E530 Culvert as part of the Ara Tūhono – Pūhoi to Warkworth project in May 2021. The E530 Culvert was constructed as part of the widening of State Highway 1 (SH1) between Hudson Road and Pukerito (Northern Connection). 

The project invoved construction of a new 2.4m diameter reinforced concrete pipeline to replace an existing, smaller culvert. The new culvert diverts and connects two existing watercourses, approximately 110m apart, via an inlet and outlet structure with low flow channels.

MCD's scope of works included the construction and installation of:

  • 4 m dia. IWJ / RCRRJ pipe approximately 40 m by pipe jacking and 70 m by open cut methods
  • A temporary launch shaft for the pipe jack
  • A temporary receiving pit for the pipe jack
  • Permanent headwall and wingwall structures with associated aprons at the inlet and outlet
  • Backfill over the installed pipeline and around inlet/outlet structures
  • A continuous handrail safety barrier to headwall and wingwall structures
  • Fish passage baffles in the completed culvert

The challenge

The culvert crosses underneath SH1, parallel to the new intersection of Matakana Link Road which was under construction at the time. This resulted in extremely high traffic volumes during delivery of the project.

The solution

Instead of digging up the road in two halves, building the culvert and then burying it again, it was hydraulically pushed under SH1 using advanced Pipe Jacking technology.

Excavation were carried out primarily using a hydraulic backhoe mounted inside the first pipe, with spoil removed by portable conveyors at the face and rail-mounted muck skips to manually haul the spoil out of the tunnel and then lifting it out by crane. The precast jacking pipes were installed on a cradle at the bottom of the jacking pit at the end of each advance. The entire pipeline and shield were pushed into the ground by means of a jacking frame fixed onto the back wall of the shaft. Tunnel services including lighting, power, communications, compressed air and ventilation were extended as required as the excavation progressed.

Pipe Jacking is a Tunnelling Operation in accordance with the Health and Safety at Work (Mining Operations and Quarrying Operations) Regulations 2016. The legislation and rules are the same as for any other major underground infrastructure project.

Key to success

The culvert was installed by means of a semi-mechanised open-face form of tunnelling using a shield, mechanical and hand excavation to deal with a wide variety of ground conditions and obstacles that were encountered.

Because this was classed as a mining operation, the crew continued the long-standing tradition of placing a small statue/shrine to Saint Barbara at the tunnel portal to provide protection to all those who worked on the project. Shown in the photo gallery below.

Construction started in November 2021 and works were successfully completed in March 2022. 

Project Gallery