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America's Cup: First milestone passed in base construction

by Chris Gregory, AucklandNZ.com 11 Jun 13:09 PDT 12 June 2019
The completed floating infrastructure and breakwater, as seen from Emirates Team New Zealand's base © Wynyard Edge Alliance

The first key milestone has been reached on the project creating the stage for the 36th America’s Cup in Auckland in 2021.

The Wynyard Edge Alliance (WEA), the organisation formed by the New Zealand Government and Auckland Council to deliver the infrastructure required for the event, has now completed all the works needed for the base being used by Emirates Team New Zealand.

This milestone marks the operational handover of the base, which took place on 15 May. As part of this, the outer Viaduct Harbour has been dredged and new floating infrastructure, including pontoons, has been installed. It also marks the handover of a breakwater alongside Hobson Wharf that will ensure the water in the outer Viaduct Harbour is tranquil enough for race boats to be launched safely.

“These handovers are the project’s first big milestones and represent the first tangible pieces of new infrastructure that will allow Emirates Team New Zealand to defend the America’s Cup,” says Kevin Shoebridge, chief operating officer Emirates Team New Zealand.

“Getting to this point represents the culmination of a long period of hard work to achieve a challenging objective.”

The next handover on the project, the delivery of the first two building pads for the syndicate bases on Wynyard Point, is planned for early August. These bases will be occupied by the American and British challengers.

“Looking ahead to this milestone, we’re well positioned for this handover with the bases already graded and utility work well under way,” says Dean Kimpton, Independent Chair, Joint Chief Executives Group.

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment general manager Tourism Iain Cossar says it is pleasing to see construction progress advancing to schedule.

“It is great to see the Alliance is hitting its targets in what is a challenging construction project, and exciting to see plans for a revitalised Auckland waterfront really taking shape,” Mr Cossar says.

“The America’s Cup is going to set the stage for New Zealand to showcase our technology, innovation and manaakitanga, and leave a legacy for Auckland and New Zealand for generations to come.”

Construction continues at pace

With this milestone complete, WEA’s focus is now on the rest of its work across the waterfront so that the project’s remaining planned handovers are completed on time and with similar success.

“Six rows of piling for the Hobson Wharf extension have now been completed, with 72 of 84 piles installed. Precast panels have been installed on the first four rows, linking them together. Concrete has been poured on top of these on the first two rows to form the deck structure,” WEA construction manager Kurt Grant says.

“Our subcontractor has moved their jack-up barge to the end of Hobson Wharf, where they’re installing the piles for a breakwater.

“Over on Halsey Wharf, we have removed the existing fender piles to make way for the piles we will be soon be installing to form another breakwater at the end of the wharf,” he says.

With the dredging of the entrance channel complete, WEA is now undertaking dredging and disposal in the outer Viaduct Harbour – this is now over 85 per cent complete. To date, they have dredged and disposed of over 60,000 cubic meters of material.

“The repair works on Wynyard Wharf are around 80 per cent complete and we’re now moving into the area closer to North Wharf,” Mr Grant says.

“We have completed the permanent road linking Hamer and Brigham streets, except for landscaping. This is now open to the public.

“On Wynyard Point, grading work for two syndicate base building pads has been done, while grading and demolition works for a third site are over half complete. Utility work for these bases is ongoing, and now over 75 per cent complete,” he says.

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