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Ohingaiti project on track with new rail tunnel

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Motorists and train passengers travelling through Ohingaiti will notice a significant milestone has been achieved with the installation of a new rail tunnel as part of the SH1 Ohingaiti to Makohine Realignment safety project.

Motorists and train passengers travelling through Ohingaiti will notice a significant milestone has been achieved with the installation of a new rail tunnel as part of the SH1 Ohingaiti to Makohine Realignment safety project.

The new rail tunnel was installed over the weekend and will be fully electrified tonight, meaning electric trains can now use it following a temporary shutdown of the overhead cables to enable the tunnel to be put in place.

“This is a really important project, from both a national and local perspective,” says NZTA Regional Director – Central Region Jenny Chetwynd.

“The new alignment will be much safer and more forgiving for motorists travelling on State Highway 1, and removes a dangerous stretch of highway from the doorstep of the local community,”

“It’s really rewarding to see the project take shape so quickly. We have made excellent progress and the community and motorists have been very supportive from the word go.”

The 110m long, 7m wide, galvanised steel tunnel will run underneath a traffic overpass on the new road alignment. This means motorists will no longer need to negotiate the tricky rail level crossing which occurs at an s-shaped bend in the road.

The overpass will rise 10m above the Ohingaiti plain for a distance of 800m, and includes a new passing lane.  It is expected to take around three months to fill around the tunnel.

The 3.6km realignment will also remove the steep, winding road on Makohine Hill that has seen a number of fatal and injury crashes, and replaces it with a straighter, safer route.

The $10.6m project, which began construction one year ago, is on track for completion in mid-2011.

For more information, or for images of the new rail tunnel being installed, please contact:

Anthony Frith
Communications Adviser
T   04 894 6403  
027 309 8725   
anthony.frith@nzta.govt.nz

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