Tag Archives | city rail link

Valerie the tunnel borer lines up for a new stretch

Valerie – the 2m-wide tunnel boring machine named in honour of the strength of Olympic shotput champion Valerie Adams – is about to begin the next stage of an underground journey through downtown Auckland for the city rail link.

The machine will simultaneously excavate & install a new stormwater pipe under Albert St.

It’s completed the first 290m of tunnelling & pipe-jacking work between Victoria & Swanson Sts and is being refurbished in the shed at Victoria & Albert Sts in preparation for the next stage of its journey. It will be lowered down the shaft to begin the final 200m stretch towards Wellesley St, and is expected to arrive there in April.

Project director Chris Meale said the stormwater diversion was needed before the cut-&-cover tunnel construction of twin tunnels can be delivered by Connectus, a McConnell Dowell & Hawkins joint venture.

A smaller tunnel boring machine is working under Victoria St, diverting the Orakei sewer main and enabling the existing sewer to be strengthened under the future midtown Aotea Station.

The city rail link will join Britomart & the city centre to the western line near Mt Eden. Construction began in December 2015.

The project, now a joint venture between Auckland Council & the Government, has tender documents out for major components. Expressions of interest were sought at the start of February for the design, procurement, installation & commissioning of all tunnel track work & rail systems between Britomart Station & the western line at Mt Eden.

City rail link

Attribution: Company release.

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Tender documents go out for rail link tunnels & stations

The first tender documents for the largest component of Auckland’s city rail link project – the construction of the tunnels & new stations – were released to the industry yesterday, a fortnight after expressions of interest were sought for the design, procurement, installation & commissioning of all tunnel track work & rail systems between Britomart Station & the Western Line at Mt Eden.

2 new stations will be built as part of the underground rail line linking Britomart with the existing western line near Mt Eden. The new stations will be near Aotea Square (artist’s impression at top), with entrances at Wellesley & Victoria Sts, and a station in Mercury Lane, just off Karangahape Rd. The Mt Eden train station will be extended & redeveloped. Associated works are already underway around downtown Auckland.

An artist’s impression of the new Karangahape station, which will be the deepest at 30m below ground.

Project director Chris Meale said yesterday the 2m-wide tunnel-boring machine simultaneously excavating & installing a new stormwater pipe under Albert St had finished the first leg of its journey. The 9-storey-high piling rig working in Albert St has dug over 140 of the 376 piles required.

An artist’s impression of the planned redeveloped station at Mt Eden.

The tunnels & stations contract will be procured using a design & construct model with a lump sum price based on a bespoke contract.

Attribution: Auckland Transport release.

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Auckland Council’s rail link scores top marks from Government’s project monitors

On a scale of well to badly managed major projects – green through amber to red – a Treasury report issued yesterday said Auckland’s city rail link again scored a green, but Housing NZ’s programme to accelerate redevelopment of its land in Auckland to deliver affordable housing only scored an amber.

The new interim Major Projects Performance Report for the period to November 2016, released yesterday, covers 53 complex major projects across government – and beyond, because the city rail link only became a partly Government project last September. All up, the projects have a whole-of-life cost of $37 billion.

The Treasury report lists Treasury & the Ministry of Transport as the Government agencies involved in the rail link project. Until late last year they were on the outside, with work already underway at multiple points around the central business district. The Government, which had rejected former mayor Len Brown’s insistence on an earlier schedule to complete the project, joined as a 50:50 partner last September.

On Housing NZ’s redevelopment programme, the report says: “The focus continues to be on finalising the programme business case, clearly defining costs & benefits for the programme, and finalising governance & delivery arrangements in advance of Cabinet decisions. A draft business case has been to the Housing NZ Corp board for consideration & comment.”

That’s back to front: Work has started, negotiations have been completed for some developments – and the business case is still on its way?

The Government issued its first major projects performance report on 30 November 2015 and scored an immediate hit in Christchurch: Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee was quoted in the Press dismissing the report and calling it “utter tripe”, and saying the findings showed the “arrogant bureaucratic attitude” Wellington-based departments had toward Christchurch, the report had been produced by book-keepers and “They should spend more time book-keeping rather than trying to second-guess the Government’s strategy”. He found the report, which at that point he hadn’t read, “entirely disrespectful” and said funding for the projects was already in place.

Finance Minister Steven Joyce made out yesterday the Government was doing far more than normal; building consent figures out yesterday indicate a slowdown in government works (but not all these major projects are building-related).

Mr Joyce said: “The Government is in the middle of our biggest ever infrastructure spend. We are investing billions of dollars to construct hospitals, schools, roads & courts, provide equipment for our armed forces and develop ICT capabilities to transform public services.

“These investments are instrumental for the provision of quality public services for our growing country, and it is important that they are delivered well. Transparent reporting is a key part of ensuring agencies lift their performance in investment management.”

In the projects report, 90% have been assessed as amber or better, 4 as amber/red and one as red. “Overall, there is an increase in the proportion of projects moving towards green,” Mr Joyce said.

The red & amber/red rated projects are:

  • Anzac frigate systems upgrade – Defence (red)
  • Lincoln University/AgResearch Stage 1 building project
  • Maori land service – Te Puni Kokiri
  • Transforming the system of service delivery programme – Department of Internal Affairs, and
  • National bowel screening programme – Ministry of Health.

The police human resource management information system project was rated red in the previous period and has improved to amber.

2 projects are close to completion and no longer require monitoring: the Christchurch schools rebuild programme and the Burwood Hospital redevelopment.

The Canterbury Public Sector Quarterly Rebuild Report content is now included in this report to provide the public with a single source of information about the Canterbury rebuild recovery.

The interim report covers the period July–November 2016 and was finalised before the Kaikoura earthquakes on 14 November.

Interim major projects performance report to November 2016

Earlier stories:
19 January 2017: Building consent highs still don’t match migrant demand
27 July 2016: First ratings out on government agencies’ management
1 December 2015: Major project transparency brings Christchurch consternation

Attribution: Treasury documents & release.

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Expressions of interest sought for next rail link package

Auckland Transport sought expressions of interest yesterday for the entire city rail link project beyond works already underway at Britomart, Downtown & Albert St.

The contracts cover design, procurement, installation & commissioning of all tunnel track work & rail systems between Britomart Station and the Western Line at Mt Eden. The work involves the provisioning of track slab, track, overhead line, signalling, control systems, tunnel ventilation, fire strategy & communications system.

City rail link project director Chris Meale said the successful contractor would be responsible for the integration of the systems with the existing operations at Britomart & Mt Eden and the new tunnels & stations being built for the rail link.

The documents are the first to be released to build the project past its current Britomart & Albert St sites, and have been prepared as a result of the agreement between the Government & Auckland Council in September to jointly fund the project.

Mr Meale said the C7 systems package would be procured using an early contractor involvement model, followed by a design & construct contract.

Other packages to be released this year include one for the construction of the tunnels and new city, Karangahape & Mt Eden stations, and a package for a stormwater diversion in Mt Eden.

“The new Britomart entrance is in place so we can start building the tunnels, the new stormwater pipe in Albert St is reaching the halfway stage and a third of the piles for the tunnels in Albert St have been completed. Now we are looking further afield to Mt Eden.”

Auckland Transport, city rail link
Contract procurement

Attribution: Auckland Transport release & website.

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Roche to head rail link company

Auckland Council & the Government have appointed Brian Roche as the establishment chair of City Rail Link Ltd.

Brian Roche.

Mr Roche had already announced in August he intended to leave his job as group chief executive of NZ Post Group next April. He retired in June as a non-executive director of Kiwibank Ltd, but also chairs Antarctica NZ, Hurricanes GP Ltd, the Government’s Major Events Investment Panel, Tait NZ Ltd and Wellington Gateway Partnership, and was briefly a director of the general partner of Gareth Morgan Investments LP in 2014.

Before taking up his NZ Post job in January 2010, Mr Roche was a senior partner at accountancy firm PWC. He has a Bachelor of Commerce & Administration (Victoria University) and is a fellow of the NZ Institute of Chartered Accountants.

Auckland mayor Phil Goff said today Mr Roche’s extensive background in the public & private sectors, including his current role with Transmission Gully, would be a welcome addition to the city rail link project.

The city rail link, now under construction, will extend Auckland’s passenger rail system through Britomart to connect to the existing regional rail network at Mt Eden.

Britomart will become a through station and new stations are being built near Aotea Square & Karangahape Rd, whil the Mt Eden station will be redeveloped.

The rail link will have twin 3.4km-long tunnels up to 42, below the city centre streets. Estimated opening date is 2023.

Auckland Council & the Government signed the CRL heads of agreement in September that confirmed:

  • a funding arrangement where the council & the Crown will each pay half of the total capitalised costs of the project
  • the establishment of a company (City Rail Link Ltd) which will be responsible for the delivery of the project on behalf of both parties
  • a joint share in development opportunities arising from the project
  • Auckland Transport has a critical role as Auckland’s key transport entity, and will assist the CRL company to deliver its objectives
  • KiwiRail has a formal role in ensuring the city rail link’s seamless interface with the wider rail network, including freight.

City Rail Link Ltd will have 5 directors, including the chair, who are appointed jointly by the council & the Government. Mr Roche will assist with the appointment of the other 4 directors.

Attribution: Joint release.

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City rail link funding agreement signed

The Government & Auckland Council signed their 50:50 agreement yesterday for funding of the city rail link, now costed at $2.8-3.4 billion.

The council has been running the project through council-owned Auckland Transport. Under the new agreement, it will be managed by a new jointly owned company, City Rail Link Ltd. Auckland Transport will continue to deliver technical & operational aspects.

The agreement allows the tendering process to begin for main works, distinct from the preparatory works being undertaken so far. Its main competition for contractors will be the bigger Sydney & Melbourne Metro projects.

As well as sharing the cost, the council & government (described as sponsors) will share development opportunities arising from the project.

The heads of agreement contains broader funding, governance & risk management arrangements and will be followed by a more detailed sponsors’ agreement. Under that agreement, Government money is expected to flow as early as 2017. The project is scheduled for completion by 2023-24.

The 3.4km double-track underground train line will run from Britomart station in downtown Auckland, around to Aotea Station on Albert St, up to another new station at Karangahape Rd and through to an upgraded Mt Eden Station.

By providing a through service, it will double the capacity of the metropolitan rail network.

In business cases in 2010-11, the construction cost was put at $2.4 billion. Auckland Transport, in its 2015 business case, estimated the cost in a range of $2-3 billion. After more detailed design work, Auckland Transport raised its estimate to $2.8-3.4 billion – still subject to changes.

Attribution: Council & ministerial releases.

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Rail link & transport alignment decisions this week

Auckland Council has called a meeting of its governing body for Wednesday to receive 2 reports on the city rail link and the council’s Auckland transport alignment project with the Government.

Both topics have been listed for debate behind closed doors, to follow reports to Monday’s Cabinet meeting.

The first, on the city rail link, will contain information “relating to a negotiation with the Government that has yet to be concluded with the relevant ministers”.

The second, on the alignment project, is about the project’s final report, “which is subject to negotiations with the Government”.

The big issue on both topics is funding. For the rail link, on which work has started, the question is the Government’s share of funding & its timing. For the transport project, the question is the methods the Government will allow the council to use to pay for other transport infrastructure.

Auckland transport alignment project
Interim report

Earlier stories:
22 June 2016: Government & council start lining up on tolls but transport report still has big failings
25 July 2016: First rail link works at Britomart start this week
31 May 2016: Thursday groundbreaking for city rail link
23 February 2016: Transport alignment starts off-track
19 February 2016: Auckland & government working together – but still some basic “facts” to align
29 January 2016: Key turns positive on rail link and promotes faster East-West project
17 April 2015: Rail link now just 2 years from hitting government funding threshold
10 December 2014: Council majority rejects softer approach to Government on rail link
1 June 2011: Government says “not yet” for cbd rail loop, mayor says “all go”
25 November 2010: CBD rail loop business case unveiled

Attribution: Council agenda.

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First rail link works at Britomart start this week

After disruption on many streets around central Auckland to prepare for the city rail link, contractors will start the first phase of work on the project at the Britomart transport centre this week.

The station will stay open – accessible from Tyler, Galway & Lower Queen Sts and the eastern entrance at Takutai Square – but the Commerce St entrance will be closed for 6 months.

A new entrance facility will be built in Commerce St to replicate the facilities in the historic Chief Post Office building, which will be closed early next year to allow the rail link tunnels to be built beneath.

Rail link project director Chris Meale said hoardings would be in place throughout construction, with signage to guide travellers to the nearest station access. Bus shelters & the drop off/pickup area will be removed, and alternative drop-off & mobility parking provided on Galway St. 2 delivery & service vehicle spaces will also be available on Tyler St.

The Britomart stage of the rail link project has been awarded to a joint venture between ASX & NZX-listed Downer EDI Ltd and the local subsidiary of Soletanche Bachy, part of the Vinci SA construction group of France. Another arm of the French group, Soletanche Freyssinet SA, bought 55% of Christchurch-based March Construction Ltd from the March family in 2012 after working on joint ventures with March for 8 years.

The Britomart joint venture’s project director, Dale Burtenshaw, said the temporary station entrance would be completed early next year and would house the ticketing office & retail units and function as the main entrance. Phase 2 will start once the temporary station entrance is complete and is expected to finish in 2020.

Attribution: Auckland Transport release, company documents.

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Tunnelling starts, and so does precision monitoring

Construction of the city rail link (CRL) tunnels under Auckland’s city centre is a major challenge requiring a robust & innovative approach to construction monitoring. Who does it?

Connectus, a joint venture between McConnell Ltd subsidiary Hawkins Infrastructure Ltd & McConnell Dowell Constructors Ltd, won the tunnel contract in April last year and Soldata Group Oceania has the job of monitoring the work to ensure surrounding structures aren’t damaged.

Hawkins Group chief executive Geoff Hunt said it was the first time in recent history that the 2 McConnell entities had worked together.

Malcolm “Buck” McConnell & Jim Dowell formed McConnell Dowell Ltd in 1961. The company went public in the 1980s and is now owned by Johannesburg company Aveng Ltd. Mr McConnell’s family got back into business buying Hawkins Construction Ltd and forming a group parent, McConnell Ltd. Group companies Hawkins Infrastructure & Harker Underground Construction Ltd are in the tunnel team.

Under rail link enabling contract 2, Connectus will construct the cut-&-cover rail tunnels under & along key transport corridors in the cbd. Harker will deliver the stormwater tunnel package, using specialist micro-tunnelling technology.

The monitoring

The monitoring expertise is held by Soldata, formed as Sol Data Ltd after a collapse above the Jubilee Line extension being built in London.

Connectus has engaged Soldata to provide assurance for Albert St’s property owners, insurers, Auckland Transport & the Connectus project team. Soldata’s remotely & robotically controlled laser system installed for the city rail link has 5 units & a network of 270 prisms (monitoring prisms, reference prisms & reflectorless measurement points) covering the length of Albert St, including Swanson, Victoria & Wellesley Sts, with sub-millimetre precision at up to 180m from their location.

It also monitors potential settlement of Albert St using “reflectorless” technology, which doesn’t involve any installation of prisms or other equipment. Evolving & adjusting to ongoing works, the network will expand to include 7 units & over 500 measurement points once cut-&-cover trenching works begin on lower Albert St.

The units measure the prisms’ exact location using an invisible laser beam emitted from the unit and reflected by the prism. From this beam the exact displacement between the unit & the prism is known. Successive measurements track the displacement of the prisms over time, and consequently give advance warning of potential ground & building changes adjacent to construction, as well as performance of construction techniques as movement trends become visible. The reflectorless technology also allows for ground movement to be monitored in roadways & footpaths with active traffic. Monitoring data is available 24/7. If the defined threshold of movement is exceeded, an alarm email is issued immediately.

Other monitors also operating include inclinometers (which measure lateral change over the full depth of the installed borehole) & piezometers (which measure variation in groundwater pressure within a defined aquifer). Every piling shaft has these monitoring the movement of the retaining walls during excavation. Once excavation of the cut & cover begins, additional piezometers & inclinometers will be installed around the perimeter and strain gauges are to be installed on struts within the excavation.

To gain permission & access to buildings for the installation of the monitoring instruments, Connectus stakeholder manager Alan Howard-Smith has been communicating & co-ordinating site visits with Albert St’s building owners. He said: “In general, building owners & tenants have been very co-operative. We’ve been busy installing units on their buildings’ rooftops and fixing prisms to their canopies from SkyCity to the harbour’s edge. It’s given the owners reassurance that their safety & needs are being considered and that Connectus is tracking the impact of this construction every moment of the day.”

Project background

  • The city rail link will use twin 3.4km-long tunnels up to 42m below the city streets to create an underground rail line linking Britomart and the city centre with the existing western line near Mt Eden.
  • The build estimate is 5½ years at a cost of $2.5 billion
  • It will have 2 underground stations at Aotea (11m deep) & Karangahape Rd (33m) & a redeveloped Mt Eden Station
  • Most of the twin 3.4km-long tunnels will be built with a tunnel boring machine. The 7.5m-diameter tunnel boring machine will be about half the size of the one used at Waterview
  • Connectus is delivering contract 2, one of the rail link’s first 2 contracts, involving the construction of 350m of twin cut-&-cover tunnels along Albert St, between Customs & Wyndham Sts. It also involves diverting an existing stormwater tunnel that runs under Albert St. The diversion will be constructed by pipejacking a 2m-diameter pipeline along the eastern side of Albert St between Swanson & Wellesley Sts.

Image above shows sample ground deformation monitoring at the Albert-Victoria Sts intersection.

Auckland Transport, Project delivery & construction
Soldata Group Oceania

Attribution: Company release.

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Propbd on Q F3June16 – Auction roundup

Ray White sells 4
Barfoots sell 4
8 suburban & fringe intensives sell at Barfoots
One apartment sells at City Sales
6 units & apartments sell at Barfoots
2 pre-auction auction sales at Barfoots

It’s a while since I’ve posted a POQ – Propbd on Q (as in what’s going on in Queen St), and this one’s taken over 24 hours to piece together between auctions, appointments & the occasional snooze – but the big city rail link project was formally started at the foot of the street yesterday morning, Precinct Properties began demolition of the Downtown shopping centre during the week, and Masons TCLM has put its Herald property back on the market.

Along the way there have been numerous pronouncements on urban land supply.

Meanwhile, I have a bagful of auction results and it’s taken a wee while to complete all the details.

The auctions, starting with the latest and working back. That means, in order from the top:

  • Ray White City Apartments yesterday afternoon
  • Barfoot & Thompson apartments auction yesterday morning
  • Barfoot & Thompson – apartments, suburban units & cross-leases on Wednesday afternoon
  • City Sales apartments, also on Wednesday
  • Barfoot & Thompson pre-auction auctions Wednesday morning, and
  • Bayleys Total Property commercial auction on Wednesday (already posted: 11 sales from Bayleys’ Total Property portfolio).

Ray White sells 4

All 4 units were sold under the hammer at Ray White City Apartments’ auction yesterday afternoon. Results:

HarbourCity, 16 Gore St, unit 23A, sold for $349,000, agents Damian Piggin & Daniel Horrobin
The Connaught, 14 Waterloo Quadrant, unit 2D, sold for $622,500, Dominic Worthington
The Quadrant, 10 Waterloo Quadrant, unit 1208, sold for $223,000 + gst, agents Damian Piggin & Daniel Horrobin
Imperial Gardens, 135 Hobson St, unit 314, sold for $150,000, May Ma & Mark Li

Barfoots sell 4

4 cbd apartments sold at Barfoots’ auction yesterday.

Barfoot & Thompson apartments auction Thursday morning:

Parklane, 68 Greys Avenue, unit 5B, sold for $1.74 million, agents Julia Barnett & Ryan Littler
CityLife, 171 Queen St, unit 309, sold for $424,000, Aaron Cook & Betty Shao
Urba Residences, 5 Howe St, unit 211, no bid, Alastair Brown & Hayley Sok
56 Airedale St, unit B1, office space, no bid, Wayne Muir & Jane Tang
Ascent, 149 Nelson St, unit 308, no bid, Mike Campbell
Auckland City Hotel serviced units, 157 Hobson St, unit 113, passed in at $150,000, Cindy Wu & Sidney Chan
Fiore, 152 Hobson St, unit 1202, passed in at $800,000, Aaron Cook & Betty Shao
Urba Residences, 5 Howe St, unit 306, no bid, Alastair Brown & Hayley Sok
Auckland City Hotel serviced units, 157 Hobson St, unit 213, sold for $180,000, Cindy Wu & Sidney Chan
Portland Tower, 62 Queen St, unit 16A, sold at pre-auction offer of $455,000, Stephen & Leo Shin

8 suburban & fringe intensives sell at Barfoots

8 cross-leases, townhouses & city fringe apartments sold at Barfoots’ Wednesday afternoon auction.

Barfoot & Thompson suburban intensives, Wednesday afternoon:
Three Kings, 36B Haughey St, cross-lease, sold for $1.34 million, Vern Hines & Sara Knight
Mt Wellington, 5 Alana Place, cross-lease, sold for $671,000
Eden Terrace, Basque Park Apartments, 15 Fleet St, unit 1A, sold for $795,000, Ryan Harding & Matt O’Rourke
Herne Bay, 9 Clifton Rd, unit 2, cross-lease, sold for $1.48 million, Carl Madsen & George Damiris
Grey Lynn, 8 Burgoyne St, unit 14, townhouse, sold for $760,000, Ryan Harding & Matt O’Rourke
Westmere, 29 William Denny Avenue, cross-lease, sold for $1.875 million, Felicity Scott
Remuera, 31 Ascot Avenue, unit 2, townhouse, passed in, back on market at $1.08 million, Lucy Liu
Avondale, 13 Holly St, unit 3, cross-lease, no bid, Eugene Yamamoto & Matt O’Rourke
One Tree Hill, 163A Campbell Rd, cross-lease, passed in, Angel Li & Louis Lai
Mt Roskill, 68A Bremner Avenue, cross-lease, sold for $882,000, Angel Li
Freemans Bay, 148 Howe St, unit 17, apartment, sold for $952,000, Tristan Young

One apartment sells at City Sales

One apartment was sold under the hammer and the other passed in at City Sales’ auction on Wednesday.

City Sales, Wednesday afternoon:

Aura, 53 Cook St, unit 1116, sold for $364,000, sales agent Tony Kelly
Ascent, 149 Nelson St, unit 106, passed in on vendor bid of $250,000, Lucy Piatov & Chris Bell

6 units & apartments sell at Barfoots

6 suburban units & apartments sold under the hammer at Barfoots’ Wednesday morning auction.

Barfoot & Thompson, Wednesday morning:

St Heliers, 8A Brookfield St, unit 2, terrace, sold for $1.4 million, sales agent Lynette Boyd
St Heliers, 80A West Tamaki Rd, cross-lease, sold for $999,000, Jane Wang & Dragon Zhou
Remuera, 27 Lucerne Rd, unit 1, passed in, Sara-Jayne Kingston
Newmarket, Broadway Park, 10 Laxon Terrace, unit 2B, apartment, sold for $827,000, Charles Benedict
Mt Wellington, 108 Barrack Rd, unit 1, unit, sold for $520,000, Rain Diao
Panmure, 20 Allenby Rd, unit 6, unit, sold for $645,000, Zane Munif & Colin Yang
St Heliers, 95A St Heliers Bay Rd, unit, passed in, Jane Wang & Angela Qi
Remuera, 29 Green Lane East, unit 2, apartment, sold for $1.155 million, Joanna Deighton & Jill Jackson

2 pre-auction auction sales at Barfoots

Barfoot & Thompson, pre-auction auctions (as in, offer acceptable, taken to auction as reserve price), Tuesday:
New Lynn, 10 Crown Lynn Place, unit 2D, sold for $230,000, sales agent Anna Lechtchinski
105 Albert St, unit 4C, sold for $610,500, Belinda Illingworth

Attribution: Auctions, rail link ceremony.

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