Collapsed Wellington wastewater tunnel causing business downturn for some

Businesses in central Wellington are feeling the impact of a collapsed wastewater tunnel which has closed off a major street.

A section of Willis St remains shut after the tunnel collapsed just before Christmas, and some businesses are experiencing a downturn.

Capital Mart owner Darshan Patel said it's now difficult for him to run his dairy.

"If they won't open the road properly, it will be hard for us to pay the bills. [It's] even more concerning about the rent."

The street isn't due to re-open until March, and Patel said he's earning as much as 80 percent less than at this time last year. It's forced him to ask for compensation.

"I hope they will finish this, ASAP," he said.

Other businesses on the street have also experienced a downturn.

"At the pharmacy we usually get a big Christmas rush, but we didn't get that this year," said Alexander Pharmacy pharmacist Angela Liu.

Even some shoppers say they've been put off by road closures and the smell.

"It's been kinda confusing - getting in and out of the place," said one person.

"Definitely it's just congested around Victoria Street. And a lot of smell in the air," said another.

Wellington Water said it understands business owners are unhappy, but it has ruled out compensation. It's concerned that by offering money to one business, it could open the floodgates.

"I think people get why we've had to do what we've had to do. And the next step they want is for us to get on and do what we need to do," said Wellington Water community engagement manager Alex van Paassen.

One other Wellington street is also already closed off for planned maintenance, and Wellington Water says it is considering what pipes may need replacing.