Tunnel vision for Seatoun on track

Tunnel vision for Seatoun on track

Residents welcome the earthquake strengthening of Seatoun tunnel, but some hope that it results in a wider footpath for cyclists, prams and pedestrians. PHOTO: FELIX DESMARAIS

The Seatoun tunnel is likely to become brighter and stronger with the council pledging $1.8 million towards earthquake strengthening with some hoping the footpath will be widened in the process.

The project is expected to start before the end of this year.

Councillor Chris Calvi-Freeman said as well as being a fast route out of Seatoun, the 112-year-old tunnel was an important part of Seatoun heritage.

“We’ll ensure it maintains its current charm. However, we will be painting the inside, making it brighter and safer for residents to walk and bike through.”

The money was allocated as part of WCC’s draft 10-Year Plan, which is under public consultation until the 15th of May.

It is the last of four tunnels the council is earthquake strengthening. The other three are Karori, Northland and Hataitai  are all completed.

Brenda Davidson, who lives in Seatoun and uses the tunnel regularly, welcomes the changes. “It needs cleaning up a bit, it’s a bit dark.”

She said it would be nice for it to be “like they did the Mt Victoria one, just all nice and white and clean again,” and that protection from a blockage in the event of an emergency would be vital.

“We might be trapped at this end, you can’t go much further unless you go all the way around the bays and come out at Miramar.”

Residents hope the Seatoun tunnel footpath will be widened to allow more room for traffic going both ways. PHOTO: FELIX DESMARAIS

Rongotai resident Kirstie Baty uses the tunnel regularly to pick her son up from Seatoun School. She cycles with her 21-month-old daughter Tova in tow in a trailer buggy, which takes up most of the metre-wide footpath through the tunnel.

She said there was a lot of Seatoun School kids who lived on the Strathmore side of the tunnel, but that it’s currently difficult for them to bike through the tunnel, as the road was unsafe and the footpath  not wide enough to accommodate foot and bike traffic going both ways.

She said it was ‘good idea’ that the tunnel is being upgraded, but she hoped the walkway will be widened for prams and bikes so there is room for all.

“It means I have to block off everyone. They have to wait for me at each end. I was literally just thinking that, as I was coming up here. I was like, ‘imagine if they widened it, just for me!’. But I’m sure there’s other people.”

Design proposals for the Seatoun tunnel strengthening are now open and will be considered later this year, ahead of the project commencing before the end of 2018, according to the council.

More information about the 10-Year Plan, as well as opportunities to submit on it, can be found at www.10yearplan.wellington.govt.nz.

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Article by Felix Desmarais

About Author I like politics, dogs and crime fiction. Not necessarily in that order. Beat: Miramar Peninsula. News tips: felix.mje.desmarais@gmail.com Twitter: @felix_desmarais


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Article by Felix Desmarais

About Author I like politics, dogs and crime fiction. Not necessarily in that order. Beat: Miramar Peninsula. News tips: felix.mje.desmarais@gmail.com Twitter: @felix_desmarais


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