Photos: Rob Roy Shift Halted For Night


Work to try to shift Freemans Bay’s historic Rob Roy tavern 40 metres up the road has been abandoned for the night.

The hotel had been moved about 19 metres – almost half of its journey to a temporary site to allow necessary work on the Victoria Park Tunnel project.

Around 6pm, strong lights were brought in but it was starting to rain adding to the stress.

The workers are now leaving the site and will resume tomorrow.

NZTA hopes it would take 6 to 10 hours proved too ambitious for the stubborn old Birdcage pub, which has stood on the site for 124 years.  Work started at 7.45am and the hotel had been moved about 2.5 metres by 11.15am.

NZTA’s State Highways manager for Auckland, Tommy Parker, said while it was hoped to complete the move in one day, he had “no concern that we haven’t achieved that.”

“We are comfortable with the progress we have made. There is no rush to get the job done – our priority is to make sure the Rob Roy completes its journey safely and that will take as long as it takes.”

Hydraulic rams gently push the hotel along four concrete runways which are covered with Teflon to allow the building to slide more easily.   The rams can stretch out for a maximum of 1.8 metres, but movements have been shorter so that the team of experts responsible for the move can continually monitor the runways and the hotel for stability and stress.
“At times it’s looked more like a Formula One pit-stop under the hotel with our team hurrying about checking monitors and re-adjusting the rams,” says Adam Thornton from Dunning Thornton, the company commissioned by the NZTA and its Victoria Park Tunnel Alliance partners to manage the move.

“It’s no surprise that progress hasn’t been quick – despite all the reinforcing we’ve added, the Rob Roy’s still a delicate building of bricks and mortar,” Mr Thornton says.

The hotel is being moved so that work can start on the southern portal of the Victoria Park Tunnel.  When construction is completed in about six months, the building will be moved again on the runways back to its original site, which will be above the portal.

When it is completed in mid-2012, the project will provide three northbound lanes of State Highway 1 traffic through the tunnel with the existing Victoria Park Viaduct reconfigured to carry four southbound lanes.

Videos of today’s work are here





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