City Rail Link: Leading in Sustainability

City Rail Link: Leading in Sustainability 

City Rail Link Ltd (CRLL) which came into being on 1 July 2017, has full governance, operational and financial responsibility for the City Rail Link Project (CRL), which is integral to meeting Auckland’s growth and subsequent transport demands. CRL is the largest transport infrastructure project in New Zealand and is jointly funded by the Government and Auckland Council who have stipulated that the project must “provide a sustainable transport solution that minimises environmental impacts”. The project is due for completion in late 2024.

About the Project

The CRL is a 3.45km twin-tunnel underground rail link up to 42 metres below the city centre transforming the downtown Britomart Transport Centre into a two-way through-station that better connects the Auckland rail network. The CRL will extend the existing rail line underground through Britomart, to Albert, Vincent and Pitt Streets, and then cross beneath Karangahape Road and the Central Motorway Junction to Symonds Street before rising to join the Western Line at Mount Eden Station. It includes a significant redevelopment of the existing Mount Eden Station and new underground stations - one mid-town at Wellesley and Victoria Streets provisionally named Aotea and one at Karangahape Road. This will improve travel options and journey times and double the number of Aucklanders within 30 minutes travel of the CBD. From Mt Eden Station it will take only three minutes to get to the uptown Karangahape Station, six minutes to the mid-town Aotea Station and nine minutes to the downtown Britomart Station. CRL will double the peak capacity of the rail network which will ensure faster, more frequent travel as well as significantly reduced travel times. The choice of travelling by train will become much more accessible and appealing.


Why did CRL decide to partner with ISCA for #ConnectNZ?

Part of CRL’s sustainability vision is to not only achieve high sustainability standards on our own project, but to work with the wider industry to improve standards across the board. We believe that the ISCA framework helps achieve that goal, which is why we acted as a pilot project to bring the tool to New Zealand. Supporting the summit helps further that goal.


About CRL and the IS Rating Tool

CRL has adopted the Infrastructure Sustainability (IS) rating framework as a basis to externally evaluate, improve and verify sustainability performance.

CRL has worked with Mana Whenua and ISCA to identify opportunities to respond to New Zealand's cultural context and it is important to CRL that Mana Whenua values are embedded within the IS framework. Working closely with Mana Whenua and building understanding with the ISCA team has allowed for a custom-made CRL Technical Manual, titled Mahi Rauora Aratohu, to be created and this will be implemented on the next stage of the CRL project.

Partnering with Mana Whenua has helped push the project to do more. Mana Whenua’s stance on caring for water, for instance, encouraged our contractors to instigate water re-use on-site, which has resulted in much more effective and efficient water use.


What are you most looking forward to at the Summit? 

Spending time with like-minded people and discovering what kinds of amazing activities others have been involved in. It also provides CRL with an opportunity to share what’s happening behind the scenes. We are proud of the sustainability initiatives that we have implemented and hope that others can learn from us and we can learn from them. We are, of course, also looking forward to taking attendees on our site tour and participating in the Climate Panel!


Which sustainability achievements are you most proud of on your project?

There are a lot of individual achievements, from reducing our carbon footprint to finding alternatives to landfill for our waste, but I think the most important thing we’ve achieved is making sure that sustainable thinking is included at all levels and stages of the project. That means that everyone involved – designers, contractors, sub-contractors and individual workers are all pulling in the same direction and hopefully achieving better outcomes for the project, the industry, the wider community and the environment.

We were also very proud to achieve “Leading” IS design ratings for Contracts 1 and 2 and are working hard to build on that success for the rest of the project and the As-built ratings!


What is CRL’s approach to sustainability, environmentally and socially?

Our focus at the start of the project was predominately environmental sustainability, particularly focussing on carbon reduction and waste minimisation. As the project has evolved, and with particular encouragement from Mana Whenua, we have broadened out our focus to include social outcomes. We are aiming to create greater diversity in our supply chain by generating opportunities for Maori and Pasifika businesses as well as social enterprises and socially innovative businesses while building capacity and capability in the workforce through upskilling and reskilling.


What next for CRL?

It’s a very exciting time for the CRL. We are in the midst of construction for the early works at Britomart and in Albert St, and recently announced the Link Alliance* as our preferred alliance partner to build the remainder of the project. This means we can get on with the detailed design and construction of the rest of the project including the development of the two new stations (Aotea and Karangahape), redeveloping the existing Mt Eden Station, tunnel boring the remaining tunnels and installing the rail systems. For all of this work this work we will be using the custom-made IS CRL Technical Manual (Mahi Rauora Aratohu) and will be looking to build on the sustainability work implemented to date on the contracts already in construction.

*The Link Aliance is Vinci Construction Grands Projets S.A.S, Downer NZ Ltd, Soletanche Bachy International NZ Limited, WSP Opus (NZ) Limited, AECOM NZ Ltd and Tonkin + Taylor Ltd.

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