Challenge of the Tunnel
Author: marshalg

Chapter 3
A True Magnificence- Building the Victoria Park Tunnel

Orange hazards blink in gloom
Autumn mist in early light,
Traffic cones direct the flow
Attenuators keep it tight.
Through the mist construction looms
A mighty swath comes into sight
A structure massive, incomplete
Sweeps past the Birdcage portal light.

Burrowed deep within the Park
Surmounted by its stark white beams,
The tunnel curves towards the Bridge
To emerge near the Victory screens.
Symmetry in huge largess
Biblical in size and form,
Built by puny hands of flesh
Man inspired, conceived and born.

Columns in the concrete mass
Loom as sentries, side by side,
Level in majestic sweep
Through the tunnel’s corner glide.
Massive beams locked overhead
Cap the roof’s gigantic clasp,
Reinforced by gridlocked steel
Bound within the concrete’s grasp.

Mounds of blue, congealed wet clay
Layered in an old sea bed,
Hauled away from ancient crib
By Fletcher excavators red.
Roaring diesel truck and tray
Loaded overburden high,
Water blasted spick and span
Keeping highways clean and dry.

Monstrous cranes with hanging rig
Lower weights of ponderous steel,
Gently to the tunnel base
Led by Dogman’s coaxing feel.
Urgency in every move
Hard hats drill with diamond core,
Fixing massive panel slabs
To the looming concrete’s bore.

Well below incoming tide
Pounded by the drenching rain,
Four inch pumps snake to the sump
Ensuring flood control’s maintained.
Foremen bark and keep control
Hard hats share a secret smile,
Safety first for every man
Think before you lift that pile.

Gate girls smile at passers bye
Politely chiding those who stray,
Holding up a halting hand
With trucks inbound in hazards way.
Smoko at the Bowling Club
Murmur of a hundred souls,
Grubby in their hi vis vests
Munching on the caterers rolls.

Morale amongst the working men
Is high because they feel the cause,
A project that is so worthwhile
They KNOW that it deserves applause.
Traffic roars above it all
Passing in a steady stream,
Brake lights on the viaduct
Cop cars flash and sirens scream.

This project has a consciousness
A Heart, a mind, a soul.
And an inspirational spirit
Which guides us to the goal.
To eliminate the bottleneck
In Auckland's traffic day
And to streamline the system
Of our vehicular motorway.

Politicians snarl right now
Champing at the huge expense,
But by next year’s finish date
Congratulations will commence.
The jewel in the crown they say
Is found within our park of green,
The Victoria Park Tunnel, friend,
Is a true magnificence, to be seen.

Victoria Park Tunnel
5 February 2011


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