Great North Rd may need new culvert or bridge
Two lanes of a closed Auckland intersection could be opened to vehicles and pedestrians as soon as April 14, but it could be 12 months until the road is back to normal.
Auckland Council's director of environmental and infrastructure services, Barry Potter, told a meeting organised by the New Lynn Business Association on April 12 if Cyclone Cook did not cause "severe damage" to the closed patch of Great North Rd, then it could reopen within days.
Cyclone Cook was expected to bring heavy downpours and gales to Auckland today.
A stretch of Great North Rd in New Lynn had been closed since March after an overland water flowpath into the Clark St culvert caused the footpath, and some surrounding earth, severe scouring.
Potter said the reason the floods impacted the area with such intensity was because the culvert did not have the capacity to deal with water levels.
There were at least five pumps working "furiously" to prevent any further blockages in the area, Potter said.
He said a second pipe was installed alongside the culvert underneath Great North Rd so water could flow freely.
If a high volume of rain from Cyclone Cook caused further damage, the road would remain closed until the water receded and it was safe to open the road again.
The public's safety is the council's top priority, he said.
Detours are currently in place around New Lynn from Rata St to Rosebank Rd for city-bound traffic and Wolverton through Portage Rd and Margan Ave for those headed west.
Potter said once the country was over the current bout of severe weather, the next step would be to determine whether Great North Rd needed another culvert or a bridge.
Construction for any new structure was expected to begin around October, Potter said.
The next 24 hours would be critical in determining the strategy for repairing the road and culvert, Potter said.
The decision would be made after consultation with experts within council and a working party established on April 12.
The group included Potter and Justin Kary from Auckland Council, Craig McElroy of Healthy Waters, Whau Local Board chairwoman Tracy Mulholland, Warren Piper and Jo Kiro from the New Lynn Business Association.
But the road would not be back to the state it was before March's flooding for at least the next 12 months, Potter said.
Councillor of the Whau Ward, Ross Clow, said the opening of the road was great news - but two lanes would not be enough to handle the traffic that flowed through it.
He suggested the island in the middle of the road be removed to create a third lane.
Potter said the councillor's suggestion was a viable option.
Most shops in the area had been open since the events of April 4, but owners said business was not good.
One person at the meeting said the Thursday before Easter was usually their busiest day, but things did not look positive this year.
He said the public being told to avoid New Lynn to prevent traffic delays was not helping.
Another attendee said rubbish collection was becoming an issue and recycling was piling up because trucks did not have access to the road.
He said deliveries were a problem because courier drivers wanted to avoid the detours. He said it could take as long as one hour to get to Great North Rd addresses.