Rob Roy Move Date Set


The date has been set for moving Freemans Bay’s 124-year-old Rob Roy Hotel (Birdcage) 40 metres so that it’s out of the way of construction of the Victoria Park Tunnel - Tuesday August 31.

The heritage-listed brick building will slide on specially built concrete runway beams to a temporary ‘home’ 40 metres away. It will stay there approximately six months, and then slide back to its original location which will then be on top of the southern entrance to the new motorway tunnel.
The four 40-metre long runway beams are constructed parallel to Franklin Road. It will be gently muscled along the runway beams by a series of hydraulic rams - each stroke of the rams pushing the building forward 1.8 metres. The move will be deliberately slow.

NZTA’s Tommy Parker says the biggest risk on the day will be any ground movement below the runway beams as the Rob Roy moves along them.

Mr Parker says the proposal to move the building presented exceptional engineering challenges because of the age of the hotel, which was built of brick and mortar without reinforcing.

“There were people who said it could not be done, that the building should be torn down,” he adds. “But while there are still challenges ahead, we are confident that the Rob Roy will survive not one but two moves.”

Rob Roy (Birdcage) before the workers arrived

Work by the Victoria Park Alliance to prepare the Rob Roy for its move has involved structural strengthening of the building and providing a new foundation on which it will move.

“It is critical that the building remains level at all times, which will require continuous monitoring of levels and adjustments as required. All going well, the move will take between six and 10 hours. But the team will take whatever time it needs to complete a very careful operation for a very special Aucklander,” Mr Parker adds.

Extensive work to prepare the hotel for the shift continues over the next two weeks.  The weight of the Rob Roy will be gradually transferred to 14 hydraulic jacks inserted between the building’s new foundations and the runway beams.  This will include shearing the building from its original foundations, which will be left behind and demolished.

Once the jacks are fully loaded, the building will sit on the runway beams for two days. This will enable the moving team to carry out monitoring to ensure the beams are satisfactorily carrying the load.

The 1885 -86 built hotel, which is now owned by NZTA , will be restored as part of a plaza at the intersection of Franklin Road and Victoria Street West in Freemans Bay when the tunnel is completed in 2012.

The move has been designed with the help of Wellington company Dunning Thornton Consultants which was responsible for moving the Museum Hotel to make room for Te Papa. You can read about that move in an earlier post here





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