Wellington Quakes Update #14 - Wednesday

16 November 2016

As at 9.50pm

Molesworth Street cordon to be reduced

Specialist engineers have advised Wellington City Council that it is safe to reduce the cordon around the building at 61 Molesworth Street in Wellington.

The existing cordon will remain overnight and will be reduced at 7am tomorrow.

Hawkestone Street will reopen to traffic at 7am. Pedestrians can walk on the northern side of the street (the same side as the ACC building).

Mike Scott, Wellington City Council Manager of Building Compliance and Consents, says specialist engineers are now working on a detailed plan of how the building will be deconstructed.

“We have been able to reduce the cordon while not impacting on public safety and this will improve the traffic flow and pedestrian access in the area,” he says.

Mr Scott said taking the building down was likely to take some time.

“It will most likely be done in stages with the most urgent work taking place as soon as possible,” he said.

“The priority is to remove the parts of the building that are at highest risk of falling in an aftershock or another earthquake.”

The timing of this work is currently being worked through with engineers.

Mr Scott said the building’s owner had been co-operative and was working closely with Council staff and engineers. The owner supports the decision to deconstruct the building.

“It’s important to remember that this earthquake was the third largest in New Zealand in 100 years and, considering that, the city has held up well,” he said.

The buildings close to 61 Molesworth Street that have been evacuated will remain closed in the meantime.

“We will continue to work with the owners of those buildings to keep them informed about when access will be possible,” he said.

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