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Issued: Saturday 26 February 2011: Bob Nettleton, Regional Communications Advisor, New Zealand Transport Agency
The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) has re-opened both lanes of the Lyttelton tunnel for use by local residents. NZTA’s Networks Operations Manager for Canterbury said the tunnel was re-opened at 3pm.
Mr Connors said it was important that only Lyttelton residents used the tunnel as emergency and essential services were relying on priority access to the tunnel for access to Lyttelton. Mr Connors said significant delays can also be expected as the tunnel would be periodically closed in order to allow for the safe passage of fuel tankers.
Alternate access to Lyttelton is available for private vehicles via the Dyers Rd pass. The Lyttelton tunnel was closed immediately following Tuesday’s earthquake, as rockfalls caused significant damage to the tunnel canopy and to the tunnel control building. The canopy has been demolished and the tunnel control building has been deemed unsafe to occupy. The tunnel’s electrical systems and exhaust fans are currently operating on back-up generators.
Mr Connors said the agency was also working hard to re-open a section of SH74 (ANZAC Drive from Travis Rd to Metro Pl), but surface flooding and liquefaction were slowing progress, and it was now expected that this section of state highway would remain closed for use be general traffic for at least another week. The agency would work to restore access to the highway for use by essential services as its first priority.
All state highways and state highway bridge structures in and around the city have been inspected, and while some have sustained damage all of the bridge structures are safe, and all other state highways in the region are open. Mr Connors urged motorists to abide by temporary speed restrictions in place on many parts of the network.
Information on earthquake damage to state highways in Canterbury will be regularly updated on www.highwayinfo.govt.nz or is available by phoning 0800 44 44 49.