Spooner’s Tunnel to be repaired

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A temporary bracing structure will be installed at the northern entrance to Spooner’s Tunnel within the next month, allowing the popular cycling and walking route to reopen to the public.
Last month, the Tasman District Council closed the tunnel after a routine structural inspection identified movement in a small crack at the northern entrance.
Since then, council has been investigating ways to strengthen the entrance in consultation with specialist consultants and Heritage New Zealand.
Council acting engineering services manager Dwayne Fletcher says a temporary bracing system would allow the tunnel to safely reopen while a permanent solution was identified.
“A steel frame will be erected at the tunnel entrance to brace the northern entrance. This will allow continued safe use of the tunnel by the public for as long as it takes to design and build suitable long-term reinforcement.
“While it is a shame we had to prevent public access through the tunnel for a short time, we were not willing to take any risks with people’s safety. With a structure of this age it’s inevitable there will be occasional repairs and maintenance needed, and that’s why we have been carrying out a very rigorous inspection regime there. It was one of those regular checks that identified the issue and allowed us to move swiftly to ensure there was no risk to the public.
“We hope to have the work completed within a month, and will be seeking funding from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to help cover the emergency repairs.”