Project introduction

In July 2020 the Government announced a $29 million project to improve the safety and resilience of the Homer Tunnel on SH94 between Te Anau and Piopiotahi Milford Sound.

Work in progress

New avalanche and rockfall shelter

To make the operation of the Homer Tunnel safer and more efficient for everyone, work on replacing the long serving existing avalanche and rockfall shelter at the eastern tunnel entrance is expected to start in November 2023 and is targeted for completion by May 2024. It involves removing the existing avalanche and rockfall shelter that dates back several decades and building a modern replacement.

Funding for this is part of a $29 million 2020 government package to improve the safety and resilience on the eastern side of the Homer Tunnel on SH94 between Te Anau and Piopiotahi Milford Sound. Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and government crown infrastructure partners are delivering this work. 

The concrete modules for the new shelter will be made off site and transported to the tunnel for assembly. Measures such as the careful staging of construction, and reducing work at peak travel times, will help minimise delays for road users while this important work is carried out.

View progress photos of the Homer Tunnel avalanche shelter demolition

  • Visualisations of the proposed shelter

    Visualisations show the proposed new shelter to improve avalanche and rockfall protection at the eastern entrance to the Homer Tunnel. The shelter is designed to blend into the unique World Heritage Park surroundings.


Work completed

In-tunnel safety improvements 

Major in-tunnel safety upgrade work is completed and ready for the 2023/2024 summer visitor season. Upgrades included:

  • Fitting ‘Fire life’ safety systems such as radar and incident detection cameras.
  • Installing purpose-built speakers and lighting. This allows tunnel operations staff to give directions to people inside the tunnel in an emergency.
  • Upgraded power supply.
  • Securely protecting in-tunnel telecommunications cabling along the tunnel walls.
  • An additional traffic lane up to the eastern tunnel entrance to enhance safety and vehicle capacity.
  • In-tunnel safety barriers.
  • Improvements to the Consolation Peak repeater/microwave site. This provides faster fibre optic speeds to enable better management of tunnel systems from the Milford Road Alliance base in Te Anau.
  • In-road sensors to detect vehicle stoppages inside the tunnel.

View photos of the in-tunnel safety improvement work

New tunnel plant equipment room

Finished in August 2023 the project saw an ageing tunnel equipment room replaced with a modern, safer, and more secure facility.

This modern equipment room alongside the eastern entrance to the Homer Tunnel entrance, houses essential equipment to safely operate the tunnel. 

The building is made from prefabricated concrete units produced off site. These were then transported and assembled on site, then buried to minimise the building’s visual impact in a sensitive alpine environment.  Situated in an area protected from rockfalls and avalanches creates a modern and secure place for equipment critical to the safe operation of the tunnel.

View photos of the new Homer Tunnel plant and equipment room