CRL’s main contractor, Link Alliance, won the Sustainability & Environmental Excellence Award at the Australasian Rail Industry Awards in Melbourne. 

Australasian Railway Association chief executive Caroline Wilkie congratulated Link Alliance for what she described as a “significant” achievement.

“City Rail Link has successfully embraced several sustainability initiatives at all levels of this major project, leading to a significantly reduced carbon footprint. It is a remarkable project and Link Alliance has set new benchmarks for incorporating environmental, social and cultural benefits into infrastructure projects,” Wilkie said.

The judges noted the reduction in mined tunnelling by up to 45%; the replacement of 21% of cement with fly ash in concrete mix designs; the more than NZ$135m (US$80m) spent on Maori and Pasifika-owned businesses since 2019; the 16-week internship programme for Maori and Pasifika youth, with 33 interns graduating and more than 73% employed since; and the use of advanced 3D BIM computer technology to track CRL’s carbon footprint – a hi-tech first for New Zealand.

CRL’s principal sustainability adviser, Nick Braxton, said the award was a proud honour.

“From procurement, through design and now construction the whole Link Alliance team has been focused on reducing our carbon footprint, avoiding waste and leaving a positive social and cultural legacy for Auckland,” he said.

Earlier this month a CRL manager – Berenize Peita – won the Enduring Impact Award from the Australia-based Infrastructure Sustainability Council (ISC) for the impact her sustainability leadership was having on CRL and the wider infrastructure industry.

In May, the ISC awarded the project the highest Infrastructure Sustainability Design rating. The score of 93 corresponds to a “Leading” rating, the highest possible in the scheme.

CRL is a 3.45km twin tunnel in downtown Auckland. It is New Zealand’s first underground rail line and the largest transport infrastructure investment ever undertaken in the country. Bored tunnelling was completed in September last year and the mined section in May this year.

The Link Alliance comprises City Rail Link Ltd, Vinci Construction Grands Projets, Downer NZ, Soletanche Bachy International NZ, WSP NZ, Aecom New Zealand, and Tonkin + Taylor.