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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 type

    Safety improvements

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.

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

  • Investigation of a Fire Safety Upgrade.

Upgraded speaker system

In November, as part of stage 1 work, specialised speakers were installed on the tunnel roof. These allow the tunnel monitoring team to speak to those inside the tunnel to give directions and feedback on issues while ‘live’ viewing inside the tunnel via its CCTV systems.

One of the challenges of fitting the speakers was using appropriate equipment needed due to the tunnels  natural rock lining. This surface doesn’t allow sound to travel as easily as a smooth concrete lined modern tunnel. This work required several night-time closures of the tunnel with these managed to ensure no significant delays for tourist traffic.

A number of other stage 1 projects are well advanced either in design or with equipment purchase. Planning is underway on several stage 2 projects. These are far larger and more complex in the Fiordland National Park environment and will take time to develop.