Gas leak stalls traf­fic for much of day

The Dominion Post - - News - TOM HUNT AND LAURA DOONEY

Long de­lays for com­muters on State High­way 1 on Kapiti Coast for much of yes­ter­day had the Trans­port Agency ask­ing mo­torists head­ing north from Welling­ton to de­lay their de­par­ture.

A gas leak dis­rupted traf­fic on SH1 just north of Paekakariki, lead­ing to de­lays of more than two hours for com­muters.

By the mid­dle of the evening, the backup had eased.

A valve at the Paekakariki North Main­line Valve Sta­tion de­vel­oped a leak at 10am dur­ing main­te­nance.

Just be­fore 6pm, Richard Hocken, chair­man of the NZTA re­gional trans­port re­sponse team, said: ‘‘While the road is now fully open, it will take some time to clear the back­log. So our ad­vice is still to de­lay travel if possible and stay in Welling­ton.

‘‘An­other op­tion may be to con­sider leav­ing cars in town and take the train.’’

When the leak was first dis­cov­ered, both lanes of the high­way be­tween McKays Cross­ing and Paekakariki were closed, but po­lice and con­trac­tors later opened one lane, with stop-go signs to al­low traf­fic to move.

Traf­fic quickly built up and at 3pm, to en­sure SH1 traf­fic could con­tinue to flow, trans­port of­fi­cials closed Paekakariki Hill Road to north­bound traf­fic, from the Grays Rd in­ter­sec­tion. That road re­opened about 8pm.

Lanes in both di­rec­tions of SH1 re­opened about 5pm, with a speed limit of 30kmh.

Jour­nal­ist Vir­ginia Fal­lon left Porirua for Waikanae about 4pm and came to a com­plete halt at the Plim­mer­ton junc­tion of SH1. By shortly af­ter 5pm, she had reached only as far as Pukerua Bay.

First Gas CEO Paul Good­eve said the gas line was a ma­jor provider of gas to Welling­ton.

Mon­i­tor­ing work con­tin­ues at the site of the gas leak north of Paekakariki.

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