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Tunnels management and guidance

Managing air quality in and around road tunnels efficiently and effectively can be a significant challenge for road controlling authorities. We operate six major tunnels on the NZ state highway network.

  • Mt Victoria tunnel in Wellington
  • Homer tunnel which provides access to Milford Sound
  • Lyttelton tunnel near Christchurch
  • Terrace tunnel in Wellington
  • Johnstone’s Hill twin tunnels near Puhoi northwest of Auckland
  • Victoria Park tunnel in central Auckland

A seventh, the Waterview tunnel (in west Auckland) is currently under construction and at 2.5 km will be the longest in the country.

The State highway environmental plan requires that we 'maintain and operate all air quality management/air pollution mitigation measures, such as road tunnel ventilation systems correctly to ensure they continue to provide the designed level of mitigation.'

Tunnel monitoring was instigated in 2008 to better understand in-tunnel air quality and develop criteria for the design and operation of new ventilation systems. The first campaign was undertaken for the Mt Victoria and Terrace tunnels in Wellington, followed by Johnstone’s Hill in Auckland in 2010.

Key findings from these projects are currently being integrated into formal Transport Agency guidelines, such as the NZ Transport Agency Guide to road tunnels and the draft Guide to assessing air quality effects for state highway asset improvement projects.

The following are relevant to the management of air quality in tunnels.

For further information contact environment@nzta.govt.nz.

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