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.

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