News | 11 January 2024
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Penguin check, seawall action and night road closures coming up in Evans Bay

Work to strengthen two seawalls around Evans Bay at Little Karaka Bay and Balaena Bay is getting under way – and will ramp up as soon as we get the all-clear there are no kororā (little blue penguins) living in the work zone.

A brown medium dog on the rocks next to the ocean with a person wearing a cap and backpack crouching beside them.

Our contractor Downer has resumed construction on the seaward side at Little Karaka Bay and Balaena Bay this week, with a section of Evans Bay Parade expected to go down to one lane after Wellington anniversary weekend (from 23 January).

In liaison with Places for Penguins, this section of coast has been being monitored for some time to help determine a safe time to do the work. Department of Conservation-certified wildlife detector dog Miro and owner Joanna Sim will be checking the planned work zone today (Thursday 11 January) to make sure it can now be safely fenced off ahead of work starting

There are existing penguin nesting boxes in the area and five more are being placed nearby to provide options for any adult kororā that may choose to return to moult and rest in this vicinity

Transport and Infrastructure Manager Brad Singh says work on seawalls is an important part of making the city more resilient and fit for the future.

In these locations, it is also helping to create more space for people as we complete this part of Tahitai, the coastal walking and bike route between the city and Te Motu Kairangi, Miramar Peninsula,” he says.

Once this work is complete, it will be safer and easier for pedestrians and possible to bike or scoot all the way from Miramar to the city without having to ride on the road. The changes are part of developing a citywide network of safe and connected routes.

Tahitai will be further improved when the existing shared path on the section between Greta Point to Cobham Drive section is upgraded. The Council unanimously approved plans for this southern section in 2021 and detailed design is almost complete.

Downer will have crews working at both bays at the same time to strengthen sections of seawall and complete the walking and biking paths. 

The team will be at Balaena Bay until about the end of March, and at Little Karaka Bay until about early November 2024.

A dog wearing a high-vis vest and muzzle on the hunt in scrub for penguins with its handler.
Department of Conservation-certified wildlife detector dog Miro and owner Joanna Sim will be checking the planned work zone for little blue penguins. Photos here show them at work during an earlier survey in Evans Bay last year.

What’s planned

At Balaena Bay, we will be:

  • building a new 23m section of seawall at the southern end of the beach up to footpath level to provide more space

  • replacing the boardwalk with a footpath and building the remaining section of bike path.

The area at the southern end of the beach will be fenced off to protect kororā (little blue penguins) while the work happens. We are working closely with Places for Penguins and the Department of Conservation to keep kororā safe. 

The Balaena Bay car park will be closed to the public during work hours from 15 January while we build the new paths in this area but will be open in the evenings and at weekends.

At Little Karaka Bay, the work will include:

  • strengthening the 60m section of seawall and building this up to footpath level

  • building a 90m section of wall so the footpath is at a lower level than the bike path, similar to several other places along the route

  • building the remaining 186m of new footpath and bike path.

The balustrade fence will go in along the whole section once the paths are complete.


What to expect while work happensand night closure coming up next week

Next Wednesday 17 January, weather depending, we will need to close the road overnight (11pm to 5am on Thursday) while a temporary structure for the seawall is craned into place to prevent erosion into the harbour while the strengthening work is done.

The work should only take one night, but if required a similar closure could happen the following night too

The road will go down to one lane with stop/go traffic management at Little Karaka Bay during work hours (9am to 4pm) and at Balaena Bay 24/7 from the following week (about 23 January).

Temporary traffic lights will be in place at nights in Balaena Bay for two to three months, and there will be work going on at nights at times as some work can only be done at low tide.

A 30km/h speed limit is in place between Balaena Bay and Little Karaka Bay to keep everyone safe.

At Balaena Bay, the footpath in the immediate work area will be closed so pedestrians will have to use the footpath on the hill side. There will be a temporary pedestrian crossing in place with signs for drivers and traffic management staff will be there to help during work hours.


Night road closures for three nights in February 

In February, the road at Balaena Bay will be closed for three nights while concrete platforms are craned into place. Dates will be confirmed closer to the time.

No matter how you travel through this area, please take extra care. There will be detours in place for pedestrians, bikes, and scooters. People riding can either use the pedestrian detours and walk their bike or share the traffic lane/s through the work zone.

Some car parking spaces on both sides will be out of action while the work happens and reinstated when work in this section is complete. There may also be times when other areas may need to be temporarily coned off for safety reasons so aspects of the work can be completed. 

More information about this project is available on our website