Puhoi to Warkworth motorway paver first in New Zealand

The latest machinery has been employed to lay asphalt for the Puhoi to Warkworth motorway project. These two machines work together on the paving.

Innovative machinery, and a new asphalt plant being set up in Silverdale, are being brought in to speed up the process of paving the Puhoi to Warkworth motorway and improve the quality of the asphalt used.

Motorway construction company Fletcher Acconia recently imported a machine that can pave the whole width of the motorway in a single sweep – a process that normally takes two or more passes.

The two-part machine, which is the first of its kind in New Zealand, consists of an asphalt paver, and a shuttle buggy. They travel together during the paving process – trucks tip material into the shuttle buggy, which dispenses it into the asphalt paver.

The Pūhoi to Warkworth project is a Private Public Partnership between Government and the Northern Express Group (NX2).

NX2 chief executive Vicente Valencia says the use of this innovative method of paving will enhance the quality and longevity of the asphalt.

Sourcing enough asphalt for the project was another hurdle to be overcome. With 18.5km of motorway under construction, the motorway requires around 140,000 tonnes of asphalt.

Mr Valencia says the most efficient way of obtaining this volume of asphalt was to establish a dedicated local plant, which is currently being commissioned in Peters Way, in the Silverdale industrial area. Asphalt production is set to begin there this month.

The plant will produce 2000 tonnes of asphalt per day at its peak. Upon completion of the motorway project, the plant will remain in production and supply other Auckland roading projects.

The base course layer (the first part of the road surface) has already gone down at several locations on the northern and southern ends of the motorway and these will be the first to receive the asphalt.

The project uses open grade porous asphalt, which Mr Valencia says helps reduce road noise. It also assists with water runoff, increases resistance and makes the road safer for motorists.

The motorway construction is making good progress and is likely to meet its completion date of May 2022.

NZ Transport Agency expects to submit a proposal to toll the road to the Minister of Transport next month.

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