Dunedin Tunnels Trail Trust member Gerard Hyland hopes gas
testing inside the Caversham Tunnel, which must be repeated
because of technical problems last month, will clear the
way for work to progress on the reopening of the Caversham
and Chain Hills tunnels to cyclists. Photo by Brenda
The failure of gas-monitoring equipment after just one
day inside the Caversham tunnel last month means the month-long
testing programme must be repeated.
It means another frustrating delay for Dunedin Tunnels Trail
Trust member Gerard Hyland, who is pushing for the reopening
of the Caversham and Chain Hills tunnels to cyclists and
"Having yet another delay is extremely frustrating," Mr
"The council is understandably reluctant to commit to any
major spend, so what the trust needs to do is show that there
is strong community support for this to proceed."
The former Caversham rail tunnel was used by cyclists and
pedestrians after 1910, but was closed by the council in
2006, due to safety concerns about water, sewerage and gas
pipes, and electrical cables.
Mr Hyland has been at the forefront of the campaign to have
the tunnel reopened to cyclists and pedestrians, and is a
member of a Dunedin City Council working party investigating
the tunnel's reopening.
In its annual plan deliberations in May, the council
committed $100,000 to start work on reopening the tunnel,
with any further funding to be considered in 2012-13. This
was on top of $30,000 budgeted for a geotechnical report.
Testing gas levels in the Caversham tunnel is an important
part of the investigation and gas-monitoring equipment was
was installed and was supposed to run from October 20 to
November 23. However, the equipment failed after just 23
During that short period it showed a reading consistent with
fresh outdoor air.
Wind-speed monitoring equipment did function during the
month, and showed that the entire air volume of the tunnel
was purged every 18 minutes.
"It was heartening to see even the preliminary results show a
good flow of air through the tunnel, as most people who have
walked through the tunnel previously could attest," Mr Hyland
Contacted by The Star, council water and waste network
maintenance manager and fellow working party member Mike Ind
said replacement gas-monitoring equipment would be fitted in
the Caversham tunnel this week to repeat the month-long
The equipment was owned and operated by a contractor, so
there would be no additional cost to the council, he said.
"It does result in a delay in terms of analysing the
results," he said.
Contacted by The Star, Dunedin City Councillor, working party
member and tunnel supporter Kate Wilson said the delay was
However, it was important to focus on safety, she said.
Mr Hyland had gathered a lot of good people who were "ready
to go on the project" and she was "pretty positive" about the
Community support for the reopening of the tunnels was
strong, as it would create a flat, safe cycle route, which
would not only be good for commuters, but could be a "crown
jewel" of Dunedin tourism, Mr Hyland said.
If both the Caversham and old Chain Hills tunnels were
opened, there would be a flat route right through Dunedin
from Aramoana to Henley, Cr Wilson said.
"It would be a wonderful way for people to enjoy the city and
would be a great way of getting cyclists off the roads," Cr
Mr Hyland planned to start a non-binding pledge register, via
the trust's website www.cavershamtunnel.org.nz,
to ask individuals, groups, organisations and businesses to
indicate what support they could offer the development.
"By showing the council that this truly is a community-based
initiative, it can be moved from the list of future
'nice-to-haves' to something that can be achieved soon
without committing funds from already-drained budgets," he