Earthquake Update 2

16 August 2013

A nine-storey tall lift shaft attached to the James Smith's parking building is to be demolished urgently - possibly starting tonight - due to the danger of it toppling after today’s large quake.

WREMO's emergency operations centre.

WREMO's emergency operations centre

Lukes Lane, between Taranaki Street and Manners Street, has again been closed to the public following an inspection of the structure.

Wellington City Civil Defence Controller Stavros Michael says City Council inspectors and the police are to use ‘dangerous building’ provisions of the Building Act to require the evacuation of buildings immediately surrounding the lift shaft.

"In the days after the 21 July quake we asked people in the area to voluntarily evacuate until temporary repairs on the lift shaft were completed.

"This time, however, the risk of collapse is such that we can not take any chances. We will order people to leave the building until work is done to make the area safe."

The Council is making arrangements with contractors to start the demolition as quickly as possible either tonight or tomorrow morning.

Council welfare staff are on hand to offer temporary accommodation to evacuees if required.

Mayor Celia Wade–Brown says there have been initial reports of some superficial damage to buildings in the CBD but there have been no reports of any major damage so far, nor injuries.

She also says that traffic has returned pretty much to normal after the congestion that followed this afternoon’s quake.

"We have just had another situation briefing at the Wellington Regional Emergency Management Office – the overall situation in the city and region is now quiet, despite the aftershocks – and the emergency services are reporting that they are receiving relatively few calls."

Important updates:

  • The airport is open
  • All roads are open
  • All road tunnels and bridges have been checked and are safe
  • No rail passenger services tonight – while the network is checked - but they are expected to resume in the morning
  • Chews Lane, between Willis Street and Victoria Street, is closed due to the danger of falling glass
  • The footpath in Bolton Street, near the intersection with The Terrace, is closed due to falling glass.