Rob Roy Gets Moved Back


The historic Rob Roy Hotel, which had to be moved as part of the Victoria Park Tunnel project, will be moved back on Tuesday and Wednesday to the exact spot it was built on 125 years ago.

Only now, that spot is on the roof of the motorway tunnel.

The old Birdcage hotel’s return trip will be a reversal of last year’s two-day, 44-metre crawl out of the path of the tunnel construction.

The main difference is that while the building was pushed all the way last year, it will be pulled for approximately half the distance on its return trip.

The jacking sledges will then be lifted by crane to the rear of the building so that it can be pushed to its final destination.

The building will slide on four 40-metre long runway beams 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 gently and slowly pushing or pulling the building forward 1.8 metres.

The 1885-6 hotel was fragile as it was built of brick and mortar without reinforcing.

Work last year to prepare the Rob Roy for its double move involved structural strengthening of the building and providing a new foundation on which it will move.

The biggest risk on the day will be any ground movement below the runway beams as the Rob Roy moves along them.

A considerable amount of the time involved in the move is therefore monitoring any variations in the ground levels and adjusting the hydraulic flat jacks which keep it level.

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.

Once returned next week, the building will be restored and become the focal point of a new public square – the Rob Roy Plaza - at the intersection of Franklin Road and Victoria Street West in Freemans Bay.  The plaza will be completed by the time of the Rugby World Cup.

Birdcage as it was

The tavern sat directly above the planned tunnel’s southern portal and it had been feared that, as in the original proposal, it would have been moved permanently to a new site 40 metres away

The hotel is now owned by the Government’s NZTA.

NZTA’s Tommy Parker says that while the future use of the building is still to be confirmed, it is almost certain to include a hospitality business which continues its tradition as a meeting place for the community. That means the Government may own a pub!

When finished, Victoria Park will retain the same area of open space, while the current Ngapona land will be returned as new reserve area with the Fanshawe Street on-ramp is upgraded. This will connect St Marys Bay reserve to Victoria Park.

Jacob’s Ladder -the walkway from St Mary’s Bay will also link to this new reserve area and a footbridge will link the reserve, across the motorway to the Westhaven area.

Jacobs Ladder in St Marys Bay led to the motorway

The 440 metre long tunnel beneath Victoria Park, providing three lanes for northbound traffic, will now open in November.

Project overview | NZTA

Video of earlier move of Rob Roy tavern

Photos of all night work last time start here












  1. Matt L says:

    Its a good thing they didn’t get the Chow brothers to do the job ;-)


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