Tunnel repairs begin today

Work is expected to start today on a temporary portal extension at the Homer Tunnel.

The work is part of the NZ Transport Agency's efforts to improve safety for road users at a rock fall site above the western entrance of the tunnel.

Agency Southland area manager Peter Robinson said the first of five 12-metre sections that made up the 60m temporary portal was expected to be moved into position today.

Each section would be assembled in a car park several hundred metres from the tunnel entrance.

The work should be completed by mid February, weather permitting.

To enable the work to be completed, some 5pm closures of the road from the Hollyford turnoff would be needed but the agency would give road users and tour operators as much advance notice as possible, Mr Robinson said.

Fabricating work for the $1 million-$1.5m portal began just after Christmas.

The flexible modular design meant it could be moved to different locations, he said.

The Southland Times