And There was Light - Under the Runway

20 September 2010

Things are looking much brighter for the hundreds of people who use the subway every day under Wellington Airport.

The City Council has, in the past week, completed a major upgrade of the lighting in the 250-metre tunnel which provides quick access from Coutts St, Kilbirnie and Rongotai to Miro St, Miramar, Strathmore and points east.

The Council's Street Lighting Project Manager, Murray Thessman, says outdated and heavily-vandalised lights have been pulled out and replaced with 24 sets of modern fluorescent lights using long-life tubes to dramatically increase lighting levels and reduce maintenance costs.

The new lighting units have been designed and installed by Wellington-based Commercial Signals NZ Ltd and fabricated by Woodbridge Industries. Murray says the installation crew received "many positive comments from passers-by.

"This is now a much more well-lit and welcoming route from one side of the Airport to the other," Murray says.

The old lights were in vertical casings - which did not throw much illumination around the tunnel. The new lights, however, are horizontal and at ceiling height. According to Murray, they provide a "friendly" white and bright light that allows people to clearly recognise other subway users.

The $35,000 project has increased illumination levels tenfold. "This is a very busy and important thoroughfare for pedestrians and cyclists. In the past it's been a bit dark and dingy in the tunnel," says Murray. "Now it's relatively dazzling."