Testing for tunnel to start this week

21:37, Jul 13 2014

The first steps towards the creation of a second Terrace Tunnel in Wellington will begin this week.

The New Zealand Transport Agency is preparing to conduct geotechnical investigations near the existing Terrace Tunnel to find out what the underlying ground conditions are like.

An agency spokesman has confirmed the work is part of the early investigations into a second tunnel, which is pencilled in to be built between 2020 and 2024. The geotechnical work will be done at several sites near the southern portal of the existing tunnel and is expected to last three months.

People living and working near The Terrace, Salamanca Rd, Willis St, Karo Drive, Dixon St, Macdonald Cres and Ghuznee St will likely notice the presence of equipment, vehicles and contractors.

In a letter to affected residents, project manager Stewart McKenzie said the agency would do everything it could to minimise any disruption.

Plans for a second Terrace Tunnel were signalled in 2009 as part of the Government's $2.6 billion package of new roads and improvements that will connect to form a four-lane, 110km-long expressway between Wellington Airport and Levin.

The Kapiti Expressway, Transmission Gully and the Basin Reserve flyover are other components of the project, known as the Wellington Northern Corridor.

The purpose of a second tunnel would be to relieve the bottleneck that frustrates motorists going south into Wellington's CBD from the urban motorway. The Terrace Tunnel and its approach are the motorway's most congested parts and are particularly bad during the morning rush-hour.

The new tunnel would be about 500 metres long.


The Dominion Post