The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) says tankers providing much of the fuel needed for the Canterbury quake rebuilding effort will stop using the Lyttelton Tunnel from today (20 October).
Normally dangerous good vehicles such as fuel tankers cannot use the Tunnel and have to travel to Lyttleton via other routes, with Evans Pass the most popular of these. This Christchurch City Council owned road has been closed up until now after being damaged by last month’s earthquake. Repairs to the road have now been completed and it re-opened at around 4.15pm today.
NZTA Canterbury State Highways Operations Manager Peter Connors says the NZTA granted a temporary exemption for fuel tankers to use the Lyttelton Tunnel after Evans Pass was closed to heavy vehicles. This decision was made because they supply the fuel so critical to the work to rebuild the earthquake devastated Canterbury region. The exemption does not apply to lighter vehicles carrying dangerous goods.
“Fuel and gas tanker movements are carried out under the strict supervision of Tunnel Control - one truck at a time with no other vehicles allowed in the tunnel”.
Mr Connors says to minimise disruption to other tunnel users no fuel tanker movements are carried out during the peak traffic times of; 7am-9am, 12pm-1pm and 4pm-6pm. Delays for tunnel users are usually no longer than ten minutes. There have been over 350 fuel tanker movements through the Lyttelton tunnel since the exemption was granted.
Meanwhile, State Highway 77 between Glentunnel and Glenroy in Mid Canterbury is now open. This was the last remaining section of Canterbury state highway closed by the last month’s earthquake. A detour was available to road users while this section of highway was closed.