The massive tunnelling machine Alice that has been digging New Zealand's longest tunnel has successfully completed excavation.
After two years burrowing under Auckland to build the Waterview Connection, the giant boring machine surfaced late morning between the suburbs of Waterview and Owairaka.
"Today's breakthrough is a massive milestone for a project that will transform the way Aucklanders get around their city – a brilliant and remarkable effort and a proud day that needs to be celebrated," says Brett Gliddon of the NZ Transport Agency.
Around 800 staff and contractors stopped work to watch the breakthrough.
The giant driller - the 10th largest in the world - will be dismantled and shipped out.
The first of the two 2.4-kilometre tunnels it finished for the project came out just one centimetre off its mark in 2014.
The twin tunnels, which will each carry three lanes of traffic, will open in early 2017 once safety, lighting and signage features have been added.
The $1.4 billion Waterview Connection is one of six related projects, either finished or under way, to link Auckland's Northwestern and Southwestern Motorways.
In May, concerns were raised it would miss its opening date after faulty concrete was used in the project, but the NZTA said a fix would not slow the project.