Sumner Rd reopening delayed

HAZARD: Sumner Rd has been closed since the February 22, 2011 earthquake, and it is now not expected to reopen until 2019.

The reopening of Sumner Rd has been pushed back by more than a year because the work is more complex than first thought. has obtained a memo addressed to elected members and city council staff from city services general manager David Adamson. It says work to reopen the road between Evans Pass Rd and Lyttelton would not be finished until early to mid-2019.

Originally, the New Zealand Transport Agency and city council project being done by McConnell Dowell, was expected to reopen early next year.

“We know many people may be frustrated with the later opening date, but this project is about making an important roading link safe, resilient and fit for purpose,” Mr Adamson said in the memo.

He said much of the complexity of the work became apparent when contractors were able to access and clear parts of the road.

The road has been closed since February 22, 2011 earthquake due to damage and the risk of rockfall.

It is a critical roading link to and from Lyttelton, and heavy vehicles have had to use the Lyttelton Tunnel since the closure.

Stage one of the work included abseilers scaling the bluffs, identifying unstable and “high-risk” rock, and removing them by levering, air-bagging or blasting.

Mr Adamson said in the memo the bluffs from Evans Pass to Battery Point had been cleared and work had started on creating rockfall protection features, including a catch-bench above the road to stop falling rock.

Stage two will consist of repairing damaged retaining walls and reinstating the road itself.

The city council had originally planned on putting stage two out for tender, but Mr Adamson said to reduce the reopening time frame, and cost, it had awarded the contract to McConnell Dowell.

“Having the same head contractor for both stages means that some of the first and second stage work can be done at the same time, therefore avoiding having to push the open date out further still. It also means the work can be done for less cost than having a new contractor come into the work for the later stage,” Mr Adamson wrote.

The project is part of the $78 million Sumner Lyttelton Corridor Programme, which is made up of four projects. The others are at Wakefield Ave, Moa Bone Point and Shag Rock Reserve.