The tunnel will be closed 8.00pm - 6.00am, Sundays - Thursdays, starting 9 May
This is likely to carry on for quite some time as the tunnel's firefighting, lighting and ventilation systems will be upgraded. Some earthquake strengthening work will also be done.
To minimise disruption to the multitude of motorists, pedestrians and cyclists that use the tunnel every day, the tunnel will only ever be closed overnight between 8.00pm and 6.00am. This was deemed the best way to go about the upgrade - closing the tunnel five nights a week without affecting peak-time traffic in and out of the city.
Two alternative routes are available for motorists - one through Newtown and the other around Oriental and Evans bays. For anyone living in Hataitai, Kilbirnie or Miramar, it's recommended you use the latter option - estimated to be the easiest and quickest route.
For cyclists, it's recommended that you use the same routes as motorists. As for pedestrians, free public transport will be provided. The Wellington Tunnels Alliance (WTA) - the people running the project - will put on shuttle buses every evening.
If you're going out to the eastern suburbs, you can get a bus from the corner of Dufferin and Ellice streets (Basin Reserve) to the Hataitai shops. Alternatively, you can take the bus from Pirie Street (near Porritt Avenue) to the Hataitai shops and use a special bus pass.
To get this pass, contact the WTA offices either by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or phoning 0508 WTA(982) 444.
The upgrade of the 80-year-old tunnel should be complete by early 2012. Rugby World Cup 2011 has been taken into account - there'll be a pause in work as it's expected there'll be heavier traffic than usual during this time.
More information on the upgrade project, diversion routes and bus passes can be found at:
NZ Transport Agency website