Ask Phoebe
Phoebe Falconer answers your questions about Auckland

Ask Phoebe: Tunnels let all get to safety in a crisis

By Phoebe Falconer

Photo / iStock
Photo / iStock

We are wondering what is behind the doors that are pedestrian exits in the Auckland tunnel to the North Shore. Are there steps up and out, as an emergency exit? My husband is in a wheelchair and we wonder what, if any, provision there is for wheelchair users whose vehicles break down in the tunnel or the one being constructed in Waterview. Katherine Winson, Auckland.

I am assuming that, in the absence of alternatives, you are referring to the Victoria Park Tunnel.

In the event of a full evacuation, the public would be directed to pass through the exit doors into a safe path corridor, which is provided with positive pressure to keep smoke out. The exit to the surface is then via stairs. While there are no evacuation lifts, there are dedicated safe areas for those unable to use the stairs or who need assistance. The emergency services would assist the public out of the tunnels to the surface exits before dealing with an incident. They would also help anyone return to their vehicle when the incident is over.

Safety inside the Waterview Tunnels is a top priority. Part of the current work taking place involves the construction and fit-out of 16 cross-passages connecting the two tunnels and another in the Southern Vent Building at the entrance to the southern portal. They house equipment needed to operate the tunnels and also provide emergency exits. They are about 150m apart and allow people in wheelchairs to exit safely. The access ramps from the road into the cross-passages and the width of the cross-passage floors are designed to ensure wheelchair access is safe.

All tunnels in the Auckland area are provided with extensive fire detection, monitoring, warning and fire deluge systems.

The tunnels are monitored 24/7 via CCTV and there are numerous communication phones for the public to talk directly to operators.

Can you confirm that it is lawful for traffic officers to position their cars for speed cameras and booze buses on dotted lines/bike lanes as I recently observed in one street in Mt Wellington? Tom Sinclair, Auckland.

According to the NZ Police website, a mobile speed camera vehicle must be legally parked i.e. not in a bus or cycle lane or on dotted yellow lines.

I cannot find any information about parking of booze buses, but as they are deployed on specific roads where traffic can be channelled and stopped, I imagine special dispensation applies.

- NZ Herald

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