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contractors with service vehicles doing an inspection inside Homer tunnel

Project introduction

In July 2020 the Government announced a $25 million project to improve the safety and resilience of the Homer Tunnel on SH94 between Te Anau and Piopiotahi Milford Sound.

  • Estimated project cost

    $25 million

Project updates

Stage 1: shovel ready works (underway now)

  • ‘Fire life’ safety systems, involving the installation of radar and incident detection cameras, active lighting and barrier arms.
  • Improved remote tunnel monitoring from Te Anau.
  • Upgrading of the eastern tunnel portal area including dual-lane for winter traffic management and a new viewing area.
  • An avalanche mitigation system and rockfall protection above the tunnel portal.
  • Specialised speakers have been installed on the tunnel roof. These allow the tunnel monitoring team to give directions and feedback on issues while ‘live’ viewing inside the tunnel via its CCTV systems.

Stage 2: investigation, design and construction over the coming two years

As part of the Homer Tunnel upgrade, Waka Kotahi is working with the Government’s Crown Infrastructure Partners on implementing safety improvements work at the tunnel. These will make the operation and use of the tunnel safer for road users and maintenance crews.

Another project is being advanced to increase safety for everyone using or working at the Homer Tunnel. This involves the existing avalanche shelter and storage structure at the eastern tunnel entrance. Both have reached the end of their useful life and need replacing and upgrading.

This work is subject to the necessary consents being approved. A resource consent application was lodged on 5 March 2022 with the Department of Conservation to replace the storage structure near the eastern entrance of the tunnel.

Proposed Buried Equipment Room

The before and after photos below show the proposed new Buried Equipment Room at the eastern entrance to the Homer Tunnel that would replace the existing concrete building located behind the 30km/hr speed sign. The new building will be buried to protect it and workers from both rockfall and avalanche damage. Burying the new building housing electronic equipment needed to run the tunnel, reduces its the visual impact at this unique alpine location.