Work began on the $2 million project in September and has so far been mainly on the high-level shared driveway above the planned new wall between Flers and Lancaster streets. The work has included trenching and installing new ducting, and putting power and other overhead cables underground.
However, from Monday 2 November until the wall is complete in mid-2016, there will be earthworks and other activities at street level, which may mean short delays on Karori Road at times.
Drivers will still be able to use both lanes, but they will be narrower than usual and there will be a 30km/h speed limit. This means it may take a little a longer to get through this section at off-peak times. Peak-hour traffic normally moves at 30km/h or less, so is unlikely to be affected.
From Monday, there will also be no right turn into or out of Homewood Avenue (towards Karori town centre). A detour will be in place via Hatton Street and some people may prefer to travel in and out of the suburb via Birdwood Street.
Pedestrians need to use the footpath on the Homewood Avenue side of Karori Road while the work happens as access to the high-level shared driveway is temporarily restricted to residents (and their visitors) only.
The work being done is essential and will have multiple benefits. These include reinforcing the steep bank and making it safer and easier to turn right from Lancaster Street by improving visibility.
Parts of the old wall have come down over recent years and the sections that remain are failing and need to be replaced.
Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says the project will create extra space for future transport choices and also increase Karori’s earthquake resilience by helping to safeguard the main route through the suburb.
Councillor Andy Foster, who chairs the Council’s Transport and Urban Development Committee and lives in Karori, thanked people in advance for their patience.
“Infrastructural projects like this can cause frustration while they’re happening but are an essential part of creating a safer, more resilient city. The extra road width will also be a huge help when it comes to planning the best way to make future public transport and cycling improvements,” he says.
“Wellington City leads the country in having the highest proportion of people who get to work, or where they are studying, by public transport, on foot or by bike. We want to build on that and increase the numbers by making changes to our streets that will give Wellingtonians more choice in how they get around.
“In the meantime, we are very grateful for people’s patience and apologise for any inconvenience. Our contractors will be doing their best to minimise disruption.”
The work going on over the next 7 months includes:
- clearing trees and vegetation from the bank
- relocating poles
- installing long screws to anchor the new wall to the hillside
- constructing a new sprayed concrete wall
- installing a new safety fence at the top of the new wall along the shared driveway
- planting/landscaping the area next to the fence.
The new retaining wall is the second new one to be built in the area. The other one, completed in 2014, is outside Samuel Marsden Collegiate School.
The new walls, and strengthening work carried out on Karori Tunnel 3 years ago, are part of the Council’s ongoing programme to improve the resilience of key structures and protect important transport routes.