Earthquake-strengthening work on the bus tunnel is almost complete
However, to safely repair and paint the portals and retaining walls at each end, the tunnel has had to be closed some weekends over the past couple of months. This has meant changes for some bus users.
The work is almost complete and at this stage there is just one more weekend closure planned on 2-3 May.
The No.2 and 91 (Airport Flyer) services will use a different route on these days – travelling between Hataitai and the city via Kent and Cambridge terraces and the Mt Victoria road tunnel.
Temporary bus stops will operate in Taurima Street in Hataitai – replacing the usual ones on Waitoa Road adjacent to the tunnel and in the village.
People who normally get on or off buses in Elizabeth, Brougham or Pirie streets in Mt Victoria will need to use stops along Kent and Cambridge terraces instead.
The tunnel is used by about 400 buses each weekday and is a key part of our public transport network so we found a way to make it stronger and safer without disrupting Monday to Friday services.
These weekend closures to do some of the finishing work are essential as some activities can’t safely be done while the tunnel is in operation. This includes applying an anti-graffiti coating.
Work on the tunnel began in mid-November, is on schedule and expected to be complete by early May.
The strengthening work is being done because structural assessments showed that while the tunnel itself is likely to withstand a reasonably large earthquake, the adjacent hillside and tunnel portals could come down and block the route.
To help prevent this, rock-fall netting has already been installed on the Hataitai side along with new horizontal beams that are tucked in behind both of the old portals and not obvious from the road.
We’ve also installed long steel rods which anchor the structures to the hillside. The vertical buttresses that are going up now at both ends will further reinforce the tunnel entrances and retaining walls.
The project is part of the Council’s ongoing programme to protect key routes. The programme includes strengthening road and pedestrian bridges and tunnels, and building seismically resilient retaining walls.
The tunnel, which was originally designed for trams, first opened to the public on 16 April 1907. Trolley buses began using it for the first time in 1963.
For bus information, see: Metlink
For more information about the tunnel upgrade and a map showing the bus diversions, check: Hataitai Bus Tunnel