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Future of Lyttelton Tunnel Control building decided


The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) says the badly quake damaged Lyttelton Tunnel Control building has been classified as dangerous and it has asked the Christchurch Earthquake Authority CERA to demolish the building.

The building is a registered Historic Building under the Historic Places Act and identified as a Category 1 Heritage Structure in the Christchurch City District Plan. Both the September 2010 and February 2011 earthquakes caused serious structural damage to the building resulting in it being “red stickered.”

NZTA Highways Operations Manager Pete Connors says the full demolition of the building will be carried out under the powers of the CERA Act 2011. A start date for demolishing the building will be decided by CERA with the cost of the work being met by the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA).

Mr Connors says while the NZTA understands that the news will disappoint some, the agency had only made the decision after a full investigation of all feasible options.  A report commissioned by the NZTA in 2011 put the cost of repairing the existing building at more than $3.5 m greater than constructing a new fit for purpose one.

“Because the current building is classified as dangerous and is in the path of potential rock falls, as the owner the NZTA as could no longer put this tough decision off.”

Mr Connors said the agency appreciates the existing building’s heritage value and had worked for over a year with the Historic Places Trust on various options for retaining it, but the costs were simply too high, and the agency had to balance those costs against the need to invest in the rebuild of the city.”

Mr Connors said the NZTA would build a new tunnel control building that reflects both the heritage of the tunnel location and the nature of the current control building designed by the late Peter Beaven. This new purpose built structure will be located away from the rock fall path that the existing tunnel control building is now in following the February 2011 quake he said.