Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Pub Crawl #2

Going up: Pub Crawl #1, August 2010...
Engineers today continue gently-gently moving Auckland's historic Birdcage Tavern back down the hill to its original location.
The 125yr.old Freemans Bay tavern was built on what was then the waterfront, as the Rob Roy Hotel. You'll recall the 600-tonne building was moved 40m up Franklin Rd last year by hydraulic rams, to allow the Victoria Park tunnel to be built. The 450m $340 million Victoria Park tunnel will be open to traffic in November, three months ahead of schedule (but what a shame, not in time for the *yawn* Rugby World Cup! Awwwwwww!). It's 10m below ground and runs from St Mary's Bay to Wellington Street. Once completed, the tunnel will carry northbound traffic to the Harbour Bridge while the existing Victoria Park flyover will take traffic south.
The hotel's $2.5m relocation started yesterday and should be done by tonight. This has been an astounding part of the tunnel project, and the NZ Transport Agency deserves praise for its committment to the preservation of local heritage.
The 1886 hotel, now owned by NZTA, will be restored as the focal point of a new public square - the Rob Roy Plaza: it's not yet determined how the old building will be used. I'm looking forward to travelling through the tunnel...but (if it's opened once again as a pub) I'll be looking forward much more to a damn good opening night at the Birdie!

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