13 September 2017
Steel reinforcing being manufactured in Auckland for the City Rail Link (CRL) project is the first of its type ever made in New Zealand.
The high strength 50mm diameter reinforcing steel bars will help hold up the historic Chief Post Office when the rail tunnels are constructed beneath it and will keep water out of the below sea level excavation. Sourcing suitable steel from overseas where steel of this size is usually manufactured proved a problem because offshore manufacturers could provide it only in quantities much greater than required.
CRL’s contractors, Downer Soletanche Bachy, liaised with New Zealand based suppliers over the possibility of manufacturing the bars locally and Pacific Steel, based in Otahuhu, took up the challenge. Pacific Steel, New Zealand’s only reinforcing steel manufacturer and using steel made from local raw materials sourced from New Zealand Steel in Glenbrook was engaged to manufacture an order of 350 tonnes after initial trials were successful.
The original design of the reinforcing cages had a more standard steel size readily available in New Zealand but this was changed to improve constructability. Project Director, Chris Meale, said thanks to Pacific Steel coming to the party the project has become much more efficient. “It’s great that our contractor has been able to work collaboratively with a local business for mutual benefit and that in doing so we have created a first for the local steel industry” he said.
Pacific Steel’s General Manager, Lianne Meiklejohn, said the company is always interested in meeting the needs of the infrastructure industry and is proud they were able to find a steel solution. The steel bars are required for the reinforcing cages used in the construction of diaphragm walls which support the existing foundations of the Chief Post Office, retaining the ground during excavation and preventing groundwater from getting in.
Editor’s note: CRL Ltd was established on 1 July to deliver the CRL on behalf of the Government and Auckland Council, who are jointly funding the project.