Auckland auxiliary Bishop Michael Gielen has blessed a second statue of St Barbara at the City Rail Link project in Auckland.
In August, Bishop Gielen blessed a statue of the saint and mining equipment at the site of the future Karangahape Road station on the rail link.
On November 4, he did likewise at the tunnel entrance at the City Rail Link’s Mt Eden site.
“We are a very modern project, but the old traditions remain important – welcoming St Barbara is a significant event for the team that will mine the tunnels,” says Francois Dudouit, project director for CRL’s Link Alliance. “Ceremonies like this have been repeated all over the world for centuries wherever people go to work underground. St Barbara is their guardian, and her presence gives assurance that they will be safe below ground.”
The blessing, observed by Link Alliance workers kitted out in hard hats and protective clothing for the start of their day’s shift, is one that usually precedes the start of any new tunnelling or mining project.
Work on the first 50 metres of tunnel at Mt Eden will accommodate the project’s big Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) for the start of its work to excavate the tunnel all the way to the new Aotea underground station in central Auckland.
The TBM – to be named after the late Dame Whina Cooper, a prominent Catholic laywoman – is being reassembled at Mt Eden after it arrived from a factory in China in October.
The Link Alliance – the group of New Zealand and international companies building the substantive tunnels and stations contract for CRL Ltd – will use the TBM to excavate two 1.6-kilometre-long tunnels from Mt Eden to link with the tunnels already dug from Britomart Station.