Building the Lyttelton tunnel proved challenging and took longer than expected. The first firm contracted to do the work withdrew. The hardness of the volcanic rock and the need to find ways to ventilate and drain the tunnel all resulted in delays. Canterbury Provincial Engineer Edward Dobson oversaw the work – his skill was demonstrated when the Lyttelton and Heathcote ends of the tunnel met perfectly in May 1867. Two-and-a-half weeks later, the tunnel was opened to the people of Lyttelton and Christchurch for a day, and hundreds walked its 2.6-kilometre length.
Photograph courtesy of Graham Stewart, Grantham House Publishing
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