Lyttelton road tunnel

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Lyttelton road tunnel
Lyttelton Tunnel (South Entrance).jpg
The Lyttelton tunnel portal at the southern end
Overview
Location Christchurch
Coordinates 43°35′39″S 172°42′42″E / 43.5942°S 172.7116°E / -43.5942; 172.7116
Status Open with restrictions
Route State Highway 74 NZ.svg Christchurch–Lyttelton Motorway
Operation
Opened 27 February 1964
Owner New Zealand Transport Agency
Traffic 10,755 (2010)
Toll nil
Technical
Length 1,970 metres (6,460 ft)
Number of lanes two
Operating speed 50 km/h

The Lyttelton road tunnel links the New Zealand city of Christchurch and its seaport, Lyttelton. It opened in 1964 and carries just over 10,000 vehicles/day. While the tunnel itself was not closed for long after the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake, the Heathcote tunnel canopy has been demolished, and the Tunnel Control Building that has a Category I heritage classification by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust has suffered significant damage.

History[edit]

Lyttelton and Christchurch have been linked by a rail tunnel since 1867.[1] Road transport had to rely on the route over Evans Pass, or go via the Sign of the Kiwi.[2]

Construction started in 1962[3] and the road tunnel was opened on 27 February 1964.[4] It is currently the longest road tunnel 1,970 metres (6,460 ft) in New Zealand.[5] The tunnel is part of State Highway 74.[5] The Lyttelton Road Tunnel Administration Building, designed by Christchurch architect Peter Beaven, is a Category I listed heritage building registered by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust with registration number 7746. It was registered on 14 May 2008[6] and is one of the youngest buildings recognised by the trust. The building was commissioned by the Christchurch Lyttelton Road Tunnel Authority as a "prime point of entry to Canterbury". It is sited at the Heathcote end of the tunnel.[6]

As of 2010, the tunnel has an AADT (average daily traffic volume) of 10,755 vehicles/day, of which 12.3% are heavy goods vehicles.[7] A 20 cent toll levied to use the tunnel was abolished by the Christchurch-Lyttelton Road Tunnel Authority Dissolution Act 1978, which became effective on 1 April 1979.[8]

Cyclists are not allowed to use the tunnel, although for many years they were allowed to pass through on one day a year. For example, the 2001 tunnel ride was held in conjunction with the 3rd NZ Cycling Conference.[9]

Since 2007 Christchurch buses have been equipped with bicycle carriers to allow cyclists' access between Heathcote and Lyttelton.[10]

Incidents[edit]

In August 2008, the tunnel was closed to northbound traffic due a landslide in bad weather conditions.[11] The tunnel was also closed temporarily following the 2010 Canterbury earthquake and subsequent aftershocks to allow for structural integrity inspections to take place. Service generally resumed within 20 minutes of each aftershock.[12]

The tunnel was again closed following the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake.[13] The tunnel canopy was damaged by rockfalls and was demolished within days.[14] Following initial engineers' inspection the tunnel reopened to emergency vehicles later the same day.[15] Access was limited to Lyttelton residents only from February 26 before fully reopening.[16] The Tunnel Control Building was also badly damaged and has since been deemed unfit for occupation.[17]

Images[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Lyttelton Rail Tunnel". Christchurch City Libraries. Retrieved 8 August 2011. 
  2. ^ Wilson, John (updated 30-Jul-10). "Christchurch–Lyttelton road tunnel". Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 8 August 2011. 
  3. ^ Walrond, Carl (5 March 2010). "Lyttelton road tunnel toll gates". Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 8 August 2011. 
  4. ^ "At the opening of Lyttelton road tunnel". Ministry for Culture and Heritage. updated 23-Aug-2010. Retrieved 8 August 2011. 
  5. ^ a b "Our bridges and structures". New Zealand Transport Agency. Retrieved 8 August 2011. 
  6. ^ a b "Lyttelton Road Tunnel Administration Building". Register of Historic Places. New Zealand Historic Places Trust. Retrieved 8 August 2011. 
  7. ^ Wen, Gerald (May 2011). "State Highway Traffic Data Booklet : 2006-2010" (PDF). New Zealand Transport Agency. p. 41. Retrieved 8 August 2011. 
  8. ^ "Christchurch-Lyttelton Road Tunnel Authority Dissolution Act 1978". Ministry of Transport. p. 2. Retrieved 8 August 2011. 
  9. ^ "NZ Cycling Conference 2001: Transport for Living". Christchurch City Council. Retrieved 8 August 2011. 
  10. ^ "Bike-carrying racks on more bus routes from November". Environment Canterbury. 29 January 2009. Retrieved 8 August 2011. 
  11. ^ "Lyttelton Tunnel fully open". Retrieved 30 June 2010. 
  12. ^ "Quake: Treasury says cost has doubled". The Dominion Post. 8 September 2010. Retrieved 8 August 2011. 
  13. ^ "Christchurch quake: latest info". Stuff.co.nz. 25 February 2011. Retrieved 8 August 2011. 
  14. ^ Harper, Paul (28 February 2011). "Christchurch earthquake: What you need to know". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 8 August 2011. 
  15. ^ "Lyttelton Tunnel re-opened for emergency vehicles". NZTA media release. 22 February 2011. Retrieved 8 August 2011. 
  16. ^ "Lyttelton Tunnel open for use by local residents". NZTA media release. 26 February 2011. Retrieved 8 August 2011. 
  17. ^ "Christchurch earthquake: Lyttelton Tunnel set to reopen". NZ Herald. 26 February 2011. Retrieved 8 August 2011.