Construction sites in central Auckland will be working double shifts to complete the City Rail Link (CRL) as quick as possible.
From Monday, May 18, working hours at the Mt Eden and Karangahape will be extended to up to 16 hours per day, from 7am to 10pm Monday to Friday and 7am to 7pm on Saturday.
Although essential back-office work was able to be completed while New Zealand’s level 4 restrictions prohibited site access, CRL chief executive Sean Sweeney said that the project has changed.
“I think we have come out of the lockdown pretty well – apparently faster than most projects – but one thing is certain, COVID-19’s legacy means CRL is now going to be a very different project than it was two months ago.”
The scale of the project, as the largest transport infrastructure project ever undertaken in New Zealand, has meant that the full restart of the project has a wider impact on the economy.
“This project plays a key role in the economic recovery post-COVID-19. The scale of CRL means there is so much we can do right now and into the future to create much needed jobs and to help get the economy pumping again,” said Sweeney.
“Operating two shifts on a site means more people working and more money in their pockets to go and spend locally.”
Currently, 40 key workers are stuck overseas and have been unable to travel to New Zealand, however the project is seeking to be classified as an essential service to enable the workers to come to New Zealand.
“If we able to persuade the Government to support our request, those CRL workers overseas together with their skills should find it easier to get to New Zealand,” said Sweeney.
While the project remains on track, some other delays have been caused by the arrival of the boring machine pushed back until late 2020, with tunnelling to begin in early 2021. The lockdown’s full effect on costs and project timings is being investigated.
“That work will take several months, and the outcome will depend on the health of the economy, how our suppliers here at home and overseas are faring, and on international efforts to curb COVID-19,” said Sweeney. “CRL is important for Auckland’s future and the measures announced today are an important first step to keep to our timetable and to our budget.”