Slowed, de­toured, de­layed

The Dominion Post - - Front Page - Tom Hunt [email protected]

Welling­ton work­ers are re­turn­ing from the sum­mer break to a city of dig­gers, de­tours, and one mas­sive downer: Get used to it.

Yes­ter­day alone, Welling­ton City Coun­cil had 473 places around the city and sub­urbs where road cones were out and mo­torists could ex­pect to slow, de­tour or be de­layed.

On top of the well-pub­li­cised clo­sures of ar­te­rial roads Wil­lis St and Wal­lace St, a north­bound lane of Cus­tom­house Quay, be­tween Bran­don and John­ston streets, will be closed 24/7 for three months from tonight for earth­quake strength­en­ing on a neigh­bour­ing build­ing. Bran­don St will also close.

The city coun­cil is amid, just fin­ished, or about to start resur­fac­ing work on at least 24 sub­ur­ban roads, gen­er­ally run­ning from 7am to 6pm, Mon­day to Fri­day.

Welling­ton Wa­ter was to close the busy Vi­vian St overnight last night and tonight but this has been pushed back to start on Mon­day. It has also shut down Wal­lace St – a pop­u­lar route ser­vic­ing 20,000 com­muters a day – un­til mid-2020 to in­stall new wa­ter pipes.

The works come as op­ti­mism that emer­gency pipe works clos­ing parts of Wil­lis and Dixon streets would be done by Fe­bru­ary are fad­ing to vir­tu­ally nil, Welling­ton Wa­ter has con­firmed.

Welling­ton Cham­ber of Com­merce chief ex­ec­u­tive John Mil­ford said the cur­rent works were merely a pre­lude to what Welling­ton could ex­pect to ac­cel­er­ate in cur­rent years as the $6.4 bil­lion

Let’s Get Welling­ton Mov­ing pro­gramme of in­fra­struc­ture works rolled out around the city.

Busi­ness own­ers largely un­der­stood work needed to be done, Mil­ford said. ‘‘The key is, is it be­ing done in the most ef­fec­tive way? Are peo­ple be­ing kept in the loop?’’

The coun­cil needed to in­ves­ti­gate how it could help if busi­nesses were af­fected, through things such as im­proved ac­cess or rates re­lief, Mil­ford said.

While most of the work around Welling­ton was planned, one ma­jor road clo­sure has caught au­thor­i­ties off guard.

A waste­water tun­nel col­lapsed be­fore Christ­mas, re­sult­ing in two swim­ming pools’ worth of waste­water be­ing dumped in the har­bour. A stop-gap over­land pipe was put in but, with the ex­cep­tion of some res­i­dents’ traf­fic, Wil­lis St re­mains closed be­tween Dixon and Ghuznee streets. Welling­ton Wa­ter had hoped to bury the pipe and open the road again in Fe­bru­ary.

Welling­ton Wa­ter spokesman Alexan­der van Paassen said that would now most likely be March or April – but even that was un­known.

‘‘It is an un­usual cir­cum­stance – it is fast-track­ing a process.’’

Welling­ton Wa­ter would usu­ally plan a project such as this in an or­derly se­quence but in this case, it was sim­ply div­ing in.

‘‘We are start­ing work with­out nec­es­sar­ily know­ing how long we are ex­pect­ing things to take,’’ he said.

On top of that was an­other un­known – the tun­nel that col­lapsed be­neath Dixon St was be­ing decom­mis­sioned but Welling­ton Wa­ter was un­cer­tain how long that would take.

Van Paassen said those works would not nec­es­sar­ily de­lay open­ing the far-busier Wil­lis St.

ROBERT KITCHIN/STUFF

Welling­ton has be­come a sea of road clo­sures. Some streets will be ei­ther fully or par­tially closed for var­i­ous rea­sons from earth­quake strength­en­ing to roadworks.

A build­ing in Bran­don St is be­ing earth­quake strength­ened, also af­fect­ing one lane in Cus­tom­house Quay.

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