Big waves close roads and destroy seawall
Large waves washed away a Porirua seawall after a weekend of wild weather that saw highways washed out, trees toppled and trampolines sent flying across the Wellington region.
Parts of the Porirua coast, including a section of Steyne Avenue, were hammered by the sea on Sunday.
State Highway 58 between Joseph Banks Drive and Spinnaker Drive, as well as Grays Rd, closed from midday to about 4.30pm on Sunday, because of rising sea levels.
At the time a New Zealand Transport Agency spokeswoman said the combination of high tides and storm conditions had made the road conditions unsafe.
Two Porirua roads were also closed for four hours overnight on Saturday because waves were washing over them.
In Plimmerton, 10 metres of a seawall were washed away and water was lapping at the doors of the Plimmerton Fire Station, which backs on to the beach.
Chief fire officer Carl Mills said it had been an exceptional storm.
The Porirua City Council had taken sandbags to the station, to protect its back doors from the encroaching ocean.
On Sunday evening council contractors placed 13 1.5 tonne concrete blocks between the sea and the station, to act as a temporary seawall.
Six months earlier there had been sand dunes around the back of the station, but those had all been eroded away, leaving the building exposed.
Mills said the last time the seawall had been compromised was during the June 2013 winter storm, but this time a bigger section was damaged.
He expected it would take at least six months for the damaged section of sea wall to be replaced.
No other buildings were at threat from the high sea.
Further up the road in Kapiti, up to four metres of land disappeared from the back of Ben Bowie’s beach house in Parapara- umu between Saturday and Sunday.
Bowie said waves smashed at the coast, near in Raeburn Lane, leaving the beach access stairs surrounded by debris and rough seas.
‘‘Last week the land went up to the stairs. This has been an issue for a couple of years now so we built a seawall a few years back.’’
On Sunday, a seawall was the only thing that prevented the waves from stripping away more land, Bowie said.
The damage caused this weekend was the worst he had seen in years.
While the wind and rain settled down on Sunday, rough seas continued to pound the Wellington coast.