Good news for residents in Lyttelton’s Cunningham Terrace and Sumner Road: all easement agreements required for retaining wall ground anchors have now been received by SCIRT. Work will begin on Cunningham Terrace the week beginning 27 August. It is expected to take about eight months.
“We are delighted to have this work back on track again,” said Duncan Gibb, SCIRT General Manager. “It’s been a long wait for people at a time when everyone wants certainty.”
Meanwhile, on the east side of the port town, retaining wall work that was stopped on Sumner Road resumes on 20 August. A works notice has gone into letterboxes this week.
Preparatory work on both projects was curtailed while easement agreements from all affected land owners were finalised.
The easements for the Christchurch City Council cover the positioning of ground anchors under private properties. Ground anchors are horizontally-drilled steel pins encased in concrete. They provide greatly increased strength to the retaining wall and the road, particularly in the event of any future earthquakes, as well as increased security for residents and road users.
Where ground anchors have been used in the past on Lyttelton’s Dublin Street and Sutton Quay retaining walls, they have stood up extremely well through the earthquakes. Other streets in Lyttelton are also getting rebuilt retaining walls with preparatory work starting in several places.
Retaining walls city-wide
SCIRT will be rebuilding hundreds of publicly-owned retaining walls in the Port Hills. Many more are on private property and will be rebuilt by land owners, as part of earthquake repairs.
SCIRT has prioritised the repair of retaining walls that have impacts on roads, underground services, such as wastewater and water supply, or have a risk of failure that could cause public safety or access issues. Retaining walls above three metres in height may require ground anchors to hold them in place.
“Rebuilding these publicly-owned retaining walls is extremely important for the people who live and work throughout the Port Hills,” said Duncan Gibb. “These walls benefit people living next to them and also road users, pedestrians, local businesses and anyone who is serviced by the underground pipes located inside the road.
“The new walls will be more resilient. SCIRT is rebuilding these walls to meet current Building Code and New Zealand standards, which includes the revised seismic hazard factor for Christchurch.
“Many of the things people associate with Port Hills communities mean this work can be very challenging from a construction perspective, for example the steep sites and constrained access for machinery.”
He noted the work would create inconveniences during construction, but SCIRT would endeavour to keep these to a minimum. “We ask residents to bear with us while we carry out this important work. The construction companies will do their best to help out with things like putting out rubbish and recycling bins when streets may be closed to traffic.”
“Entering into easement agreements can sometimes seem daunting for property owners,” said Mr Gibb. “Every property owner has rights when it comes to easement agreements. These will differ property to property depending on the depth of the anchors and the numbers required in particular sections of wall.
“SCIRT and the Christchurch City Council Property Services team will be on hand to assist people through the easement process and affected people are encouraged to seek legal advice. Normally we require easement agreements to be in place before work can begin. However, in some places work can start in areas where anchors are required but no easements are needed, for example adjoining publicly-owned land. In that way the project gets off the ground and residents can see what the finished result will look like.”
Work is continuing to determine the full extent of damage to retaining walls across the city and to determine which of these are publicly owned and will be repaired by SCIRT.
Latest works notice for Sumner Road:
Works notice for Cunningham Terrace will be in letterboxes and on the SCIRT web by 20 August. Just type Cunningham Terrace into the search box top left land side www.strongerchristchurch.govt.nz