Visitors and the public are invited tomorrow (Saturday 27 September) to walk through the newly constructed Arras Tunnel at the site of Pukeahu National War Memorial Park at Buckle Street in Wellington, Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Christopher Finlayson said today.
Minister Finlayson talking to pupils from Mt Cook School at an earlier naming ceremony for Arras Tunnel.
Mr Finlayson will officially open the Arras Tunnel at 10.50am tomorrow and immediately following that the public will be able to walk through the tunnel until 2.00pm.
“This will be the only opportunity prior for the public to view the tunnel on foot prior to its opening for traffic on Monday morning,” Mr Finlayson said.
The Arras tunnel undergrounds the stretch of State Highway 1 that previously ran alongside the National War Memorial. It connects Sussex Street on the eastern side of the park through to Taranaki Street on the western side.
The name Arras commemorates the New Zealand tunnelling company based in Arras during the First World War.
“The completion of the tunnel is a significant milestone for the development of the National War Memorial Park as it progresses towards its completion and opening in April next year,” Mr Finlayson said. “The New Zealand Transport Agency and the partners of the Memorial Park Alliance are to be congratulated for their dedication and commitment in getting the tunnel finished on schedule.”
The public will be able to walk through the tunnel from the Sussex Street end and view the commemorative poppies on the tunnel wall. There will also be audio visual and sound displays.
Hosts will be present to assist the public with directions and answer questions.
The tunnel opening will be preceded by a wreath-laying ceremony to honour the New Zealand Tunnelling Company at the nearby National War Memorial. Forty one New Zealand tunnellers lost their lives while stationed at Arras during the First World War. Further information about the New Zealand Tunnelling Company can be found at http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/war/arras-tunnels/tunnelling-company.
Updated on 23rd July 2015