Community leaders in New Zealand have found a novel and striking use for tunnel segments from the Waterview mega-project in Auckland. Five of the giant precast concrete segments have been erected as a permanent war memorial in Te Kauwhata.
The 10-tonne segments, measuring 3m tall and reinforced with Dramix steel fibres, have been designed by a local art student to represent the ANZAC spirit. Fundraisers contacted the Waterview project after discovering they could not afford to purchase similarly large structures. The segments had been moulded at the project’s precast concrete factory at East Tamaki in Auckland, where more than 24,000 segments for the twin tube highway tunnel have been cast. Co-ordinator of the memorial project, David Hosking, said it would have been too expensive for the organising Lions Club to build the memorial using commercially sourced concrete slabs.
“We had the brainwave of asking the precast factory if any tunnel segments were available. The support from the factory and the wider Waterview project has been fantastic. We have never had a memorial in the town to honour people from the district who served our country in many distant places around the world,” said Hosking.
“We are very pleased to have been able to support Te Kauwhata’s community and make a contribution like this,” said Andy Bould, Manager of the tunnel project’s Precast Sub-Alliance, “especially as ANZAC Day later this month marks the centenary of the troop landings at Gallipoli in Turkeywhere Australia and New Zealand armed forces lost thousands of men during World War One.”
“The Waterview project is very much about planning for the future, but it is great that we have been able to play a part in helping make sure that the Te Kauwhata community does not lose its past,” said Brett Gliddon, Highway Manager of the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA). Before being erected, the segments had their bolt holes filled and the surfaces plastered and splashed with paint to give them a marble effect. The memorial was dedicated at a special ceremony on Saturday (11 April), in time for the country’s ANZAC Day memorial celebrations.
TBM Alice, which continues to excavate the twin tube highway tunnel, is currently into the return drive back towards the southern portal from which it originally launched in November 2013.