Work Starts on Karori Tunnel

13 February 2012

Essential quake-strengthening work is getting under way on Karori tunnel and new temporary traffic signals will be in operation at times from next Monday (20 February).

Transport Portfolio Leader Councillor Andy Foster at the tunnel entrance

Transport Portfolio Leader Councillor Andy Foster at the tunnel entrance

Work starts in Raroa Road above the tunnel this week and there will be a few days next week where traffic will be down to one lane at times. From Monday 27 February, the work is expected to be in full swing six days a week. Go Wellington will run diesel buses from then until November when it's expected to be finished.

While we intend to keep both lanes open at peak times (7.00am - 9.30am and 3.00pm - 7.00pm), traffic will be down to one lane at other times.

If you're using the tunnel between 9.30am and 3.00pm, or after 7.00pm Monday to Saturday, expect some delays or take an alternative route.

The tunnel is near the city's main fault line and assessments show that while the tunnel itself is likely to withstand a reasonably large earthquake, the tunnel portals are vulnerable.

The hillside is also prone to slips.

To make things safer we are:

  • rebuilding both tunnel entrances (portals) and anchoring them to the hillside
  • constructing a new sprayed-concrete retaining wall along Glenmore Street on the Kelburn approach to the tunnel.

The Council's Transport Portfolio Leader, Councillor Andy Foster, says the project is part of the Council's ongoing programme to strengthen and protect the city's main transport routes.

"We've already done major strengthening work in Ngaio Gorge Road to secure a viable alternative route out of the city and future work is planned on Churchill Drive, the Hataitai bus tunnel and Seatoun and Northland tunnels.

"It isn't easy doing work like this on such a busy route but we will be working with the contractor to minimise delays and noise and will make changes if necessary. We hope Karori residents will bear with us."

At times, the tunnel may close overnight after the last bus, and for up to five minutes during the day. Sunday work is also possible.

Mobile electronic signs will provide traffic updates, advance warning of closures and detour information.

Pedestrians and cyclists can access the tunnel, though there may be short delays. For more information, phone (04) 499 4444 or see:

Projects - Karori Tunnel