Watch: Contractors making progress on Sumner Rd

Video: Christchurch City Council

New video footage has captured some of the progress being made on rebuilding Sumner Road from Evans Pass to Lyttelton.

Contractors McConnell Dowell and teams of sub-contractors have been working for Christchurch City Council and the NZ Transport Agency for the past 15 months on the first stage of work to reopen Sumner Road, mitigating the rockfall risk.

This work is extremely complex and involves identifying rock features that are high-risk or unstable and removing them.

The rock is removed by scaling, which involves abseiling down the bluff face to find the unstable and high-risk rock and removing them by levering, air-bagging or blasting.

The bluffs from Evans Pass down to Battery Point have all been scaled and cleared and work has begun creating the rockfall protection features. The rockfall protection features include a catchbench which is being excavated and a rockfall interception bund which has just been completed.

The catchbench and interception bund will literally catch falling rock and contain it to reduce the risk of it falling or rolling onto the road.

Extra material has also been removed from around Windy Point, bringing the alignment of the road closer to the hill, away from the damaged outer edges of the corner.

The second stage of the project involves repairing the damaged retaining walls and reinstate the road itself.

The start date for the work, coupled with the complexity of it, which only became apparent when contractors were able to access and clear parts of the road, means the reopening date for the road has been revised.

It is now expected the road will reopen early to mid-2019, not early 2018 as previously thought.

To reduce the timeframe for the reopening and lessen the cost, the Council has agreed to award the contract for the second stage of the works to McConnell Dowell.

Having the same head contractor for both stages means 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.

Christchurch City Council General Manager David Adamson understands many people may be disappointed with the later opening date.

“This project is about making an important roading link safe, resilient and fit for purpose. It is important therefore that work is done to the appropriate standards that will serve the community for decades to come,” he said.

 – Newsline