Historic hotel to start its final 'pub crawl' home

  • 11/04/2011

The historic Rob Roy Hotel is making its final ‘pub crawl’ home after being moved away from the path of the Victoria Park Tunnel construction last year.

The hotel, also known as The Birdcage Tavern, will begin its two day journey today, back to the exact spot it was built 125 years ago. The only change is that it is now on the roof of the motorway tunnel.

NZTA's State Highways Manager for Auckland and Northland, Tommy Parker says the return trip will be a reversal of last year's two-day, 44-metre crawl out of the path of the tunnel construction.

"The only real difference is that while the building was pushed all the way last year, it will be pulled for approximately half the distance on its return trip. 

“The jacking sledges will then be lifted by crane to the rear of the building so that it can be pushed to its final destination,” says Mr Parker.

The building will slide on four 40-metre long runway beams constructed parallel to Franklin Road. 

It will be gently muscled along the runway beams by a series of hydraulic rams - each stroke of the rams gently and slowly pushing or pulling the building forward 1.8 metres. 

Mr Parker says as with last year's move, the biggest risk on the day will be any ground movement below the runway beams as the Rob Roy moves along them. 

"A considerable amount of the time involved in the move is therefore monitoring any variations in the ground levels and adjusting the hydraulic flat jacks which keep it level."

But he is confident the hotel will stand tall once again in its original spot.

"There were people who said it could not be done, that the building should be torn down.

"But while there are still challenges ahead, we are confident that the Rob Roy will survive its return trip."

After the big move the 1885/86 built hotel, which is owned by the NZ Transport Agency, will be restored and become the focal point of a new public square - the Rob Roy Plaza - at the intersection of Franklin Road and Victoria Street West in Freemans Bay. 

The plaza will be completed by the time of the Rugby World Cup.

Mr Parker says that while the future use of the building is still to be confirmed, it is almost certain to include a hospitality business which continues its tradition as a meeting place for the community.

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source: newshub archive