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Centenarian tunnel closes for probe

Oct 1st, 2010 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

TunnelMAINtopKARORI’S 110-year-old tunnel was investigated over the weekend to fix a water leak, see how it can be earthquake-proofed, and assess whether the floor could be lowered to widen it.

The tunnel was closed on Sunday and Monday nights (8pm to 6am) so city council contractors could drill and dig around in the tunnel, which is a vital link to Karori.

Earlier ideas to either replace the tunnel ($30million in 2004) or have it day-lighted ($9m) have been put aside, says strategy and policy committee chair Andy Foster.

“The idea never goes away – information may be buried somewhere. It’s not just that it’s too expensive, the benefits didn’t outweigh the costs.”

He says if Karori was growing faster, there would be more pressure for road improvements, but this is not the case.

This financial year the council has budgeted to earthquake strengthen the city end of the tunnel.

The budget is allowing $300,000, but the actual amount will depend on the results of this weekend’s work.

Council infra-structure team leader Scott Kirkland says there has been a water problem in the tunnel for the last 18 months.

“The water from behind the tunnel is coming through the brickwork,” he says. “[There is] moss and mould growing because of the water.” 

The results of the investigation will determine the best way to stop the water getting in.

Griffiths Drilling (NZ) Ltd will conduct the investigation. Signs directing traffic to alternative routes to Karori are being displayed by Fulton Hogan.

Traffic control manager Brian Russell says traffic in and out of Karori will take separate routes (see below).

“Because of the width of the roads in Karori we’re basically splitting the traffic [to reduce congestion].”

Traffic heading into Karori will be directed on to Upland road, turn into Plunket Rd then into Raroa Cres, then onto Chaytor St

The route out of Karori will be from Chaytor St, turning left into Northland Tunnel Rd, right into Northland Rd to the round-about at Northland Rd/Upland Rd, and thence to Glenmore St.

 The council warns that it is likely to be noisy, and there will possibly be vibrations from the

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