College Hill sink hole, whole again!

Publish Date : 27 Feb 2024
College Hill sinkhole
Pipe being lifted into College Hill sinkhole

Those arriving into the city from Auckland’s inner west suburbs or the north shore will be delighted their drive to work will be less chaotic than it has been for the last six months with the quick completion of a major pipe replacement which was accelerated by a sudden sinkhole catastrophe.

The sinkhole appeared in May last year due to water undermining the integrity of the seal, creating a cavity that caused the road to collapse into the pipe. A new stormwater pipe running from the intersection of Beaumont Street and Victoria Street West to England Street has now been installed.

The road is due to be resealed by Auckland Transport from Wood Street to its intersection with Beaumont Street and including Gudgeon Street this month so motorists can now travel on this major through road without disruption.

The extensive $2.86 million repair project has taken Auckland Council just six months to complete.

“This has been an extremely successful project completed under Emergency Works and not only completed earlier than projected, but also to budget,” says Auckland Council’s Healthy Waters Head of Operations, Andrew Skelton.

“It might seem that when a hole opens up in the middle of the road, we should just be able to pave over it and that’s the end of it, but this kind of work is very complex.

“To ensure the job is done properly, we need to undertake extensive preparation including design options, geotechnical investigations, risk assessments and tenders,” adds Mr Skelton.

Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown says he’s pleased the work on College Hill is now complete.

“Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland has had more than its fair share of weather-related disruptions recently.  It’s good to see we’re making progress on keeping Auckland moving with the repair of this key access road connecting the inner west with Auckland central and motorway on ramps,” says Mayor Brown.

“While businesses and residents have been impacted by the works, and we thank them for their patience, this stormwater upgrade is part of the work we are doing to futureproof our region. Building a more resilient and prepared Auckland is a key council priority.” 

The original 450mm diameter ceramic pipe that ran under College Hill was built in 1915 and had previously showed signs of damage before the storm events of early 2023, so its replacement was already being fast-tracked when the sinkhole appeared.

The replacement project includes a new 250 metre stormwater pipe with a 600mm internal diameter, catch pits, and a planting bay. The new pipes are a significant advance in sustainable concrete production as they’re made from low carbon concrete that achieves a 22 per cent reduction in emissions compared with a traditional concrete pipe. It’s the first time Auckland Council has used low carbon pipes.

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