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Mt Victoria Tunnel Upgrade – Stage 2

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Project introduction

The Mt Victoria Tunnel is a vital part of the Wellington region's transport network. The NZ Transport Agency upgraded the Mt Victoria Tunnel to extend its working life.

  • Estimated project cost

    $30 million
  • Project type

    Infrastructure upgrade
  • Project status

    Completed

Project updates

Mt Victoria Tunnel radio broadcast resumes
Media release, (DOCX)
Temporary break in tunnel radio rebroadcast
Project updates, (DOCX)
Mt Victoria Tunnel Upgrade - Completed
Project updates, (PDF)
Upgrade transforms Mt Victoria tunnel
Media release,
Project update - February 2016
Project updates, (PDF)
Project update - October 2015
Project updates, (PDF)

Purpose

The Mt Victoria Tunnel opened in 1931, connecting Hataitai and the eastern suburbs with the inner city suburbs of Wellington. It is 623 metres long and has two lanes, one in each direction. More than 45,000 cars per day travel through the tunnel and share the space with pedestrians and cyclists who use the tunnel on an elevated walkway along the northern wall.

The tunnel's original systems and components were appropriate when they were installed. However, more modern equipment, will improve the operation, environment and safety in the tunnel.

Stage 1 of the upgrade was completed in 2012 which included the demolition of the ceiling plenum.

Benefits

The Stage 2 upgrade of the tunnel refurbishment and safety improvement works builds on work completed around 2 years ago when the concrete ceiling was removed:

  • Normal long-term asset maintenance and resilience work of the tunnel as a key link in the Wellington network
  • Replaces life-expired assets
  • Meets the needs of tunnel users
  • Enhances the tunnel environment, including lighting, security and emergency communications for vehicles and pedestrians.
  • Strengthens the resilience of the walkway in a seismic event
  • Upgrades the shotcrete around the portal slopes, including aesthetic enhancements.

Latest news

Following the completion of the Stage 2 Upgrade on 24 June 2016, Mt Victoria Tunnel is now open 24 hours every day, apart from scheduled maintenance closures. The tunnel, which was carved by hand through rock nearly 85 years ago in 1930 and 1931, has been transformed to include 21st Century tunnel safety technologies. A huge amount of mechanical, electrical and electronic communications engineering has been undertaken though the most obvious to tunnel users is the rebroadcast of 18 FM frequencies so people can continue listening to their favourite radio stations. The tunnel’s communications system includes thermal imaging cameras that ‘see’ through sunstrike at the entrances and through smoke if there is an accident inside, sending their images to the Wellington Transport Operations Centre (WTOC).

In an emergency, electronically-controlled cats’ eyes on the road are programmed to pulse in the direction that people should go to exit the tunnel – a world-first use of this system. The tunnel is also equipped with an efficient LED lighting system which responds to outside light levels at the portals and gradually dims toward the centre as drivers’ eyes adjust – the first New Zealand state highway tunnel to use LED lighting.  This not only optimises the lighting levels in the tunnel but is also energy efficient.  Furthermore, we have undertaken seismic strengthening of the tunnel walkway and portal slopes to bring the tunnel up to current standards and upgraded the ambient tunnel conditions through new paint systems and reflective (fire-rated) panels.

Project details

The Mt Victoria Tunnel is a vital link in the Wellington region’s transport network. To ensure the tunnel continues to operate effectively the NZ Transport Agency is starting Stage 2 of the upgrade which includes improvements of the:

  • mechanical ventilation

  • lighting

  • pedestrian walkway strengthening

  • control room refurbishment

  • portal slope improvement

  • tunnel management systems

  • wall panels.

 Stage 3 of the upgrade will be coordinated with the Mt Victoria Tunnel Duplication.

It’s appropriate to make these changes now given the tunnel’s age and the advancements made in tunnel engineering since it was built more than 80 years ago.

Mt Victoria Tunnel Upgrade Stage 2 begins

Mt Victoria Tunnel on State Highway 1 is a vital link in the Wellington region’s transport network and is being upgraded to ensure it continues to operate effectively. It is appropriate to make these changes now given the tunnel’s age and the advancements made in tunnel engineering since it was built more than 80 years ago.

Download our advertisement for more information [PDF, 1.4 MB]

  • Stage 1

    Stage 1 of the Mt Victoria upgrade involved a $17.5 million upgrade began in May 2011 and completed late 2012. The project included upgrading the fire systems and improving earthquake safety, demolishing the tunnel's current ceiling (plenum), installing a temporary safety platform, and fire sprinklers, and installing a new deluge system.

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Project overview

The Mt Victoria Tunnel is being upgraded to ensure it continues to work effectively and in line with today's standards.Work includes mechanical, lighting, walkway strengthening, control room refurbishment, portal slope improvements, tunnel management systems, and wall panels. Work will be done overnight to minimise the impact on traffic.

  • Background

    The Mt Victoria Tunnel opened in 1931, connecting Hataitai and the eastern suburbs with the inner city suburbs of Wellington. It is 623 metres long and has two lanes, one in each direction. More than 45,000 cars per day travel through the tunnel and share the space with pedestrians and cyclists who use the tunnel on an elevated walkway along the northern wall.

    The tunnel’s original systems and components were appropriate when they were installed. However, more modern equipment, will improve the operation, environment and safety in the tunnel.

    Stage 1 of the upgrade was completed in 2012 which included the demolition of the ceiling plenum.

    Cost

    Upgrade 2 has a construction budget of $30 million.

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Frequently asked questions

  • When is the work going to be done?

    To avoid traffic disruption the bulk of the work will be done overnight. This means the tunnel will likely be closed from 9pm until 6am Sundays to Thursdays, but this is still be confirmed.

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  • How will I know when the tunnel is closed?

     The tunnel will be closed Mondays to Thursdays 9.00pm – 6.00am unless notified on our website, local radio or the Dominion Post. Please see the map link on our homepage that shows alternative routes for motorists.

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  • What impact will there be to daytime traffic?

    The impact to daytime traffic is expected to be limited. The speed limit through the Mt Victoria Tunnel will be maintained at current levels. Lighting will be altered, but kept at a sufficient level that would not impact on traffic.

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  • How noisy is the work going to be?

    There will be some noise involved with the work as old equipment needs to be removed and new equipment installed. Every effort is being made to ensure that construction noise is kept to a minimum. This includes doing the noisiest work in the early evening so nearby residents are not overly inconvenienced. The team is also considering other ways to limit the amount of noise that is made.

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  • What is an Alliance?

    A project alliance is a commercial agreement between a client, in this case the NZTA, and a consortium of companies to plan and deliver a project. Partners in a project alliance can be involved in planning, design and construction of a project and can come from both the public and private sectors.

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  • Why was an Alliance chosen for this project?

    An Alliance was selected for the Mt Victoria Tunnel upgrade because of the benefits it can provide in developing and implementing a project. The Alliance approach allows for faster delivery of a project as different parts of the work can be progressed simultaneously by having the owner, designer, constructor and technical specialists working together as a team. Team members take off their company hats to work as a single organisation and ensure value for money as partners share in the financial risk and reward of the work they collectively carry out.

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