Initial road quake claim $626,000

IAIN SCOTT
Last updated 09:00 15/02/2014

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Tararua District Council has submitted an initial claim of $626,000 to the New Zealand Transport agency for repairs to earthquake-damaged roads, but the figure is likely to rise.

Chief executive Blair King said yesterday the full cost of repairs to Tararua roads damaged in the Wellington Anniversary earthquake would become apparent only once repair work began.

The council has previously indicated the cost could be as high as $2 million.

Mr King said the repair process would begin once NZTA approval for the initial claim had been granted.

An initial claim left room for later adjustment as investigations were completed.

"It's saying if your assumptions are right and we can just go in and rip the top off and reseal some of these, then it's low cost," he said.

"If they rip the top off and suddenly say hello, there's water now coming into areas that didn't have water, or the cracks are quite extensive - they are actually bigger underground than they are on top - then we go back to NZTA and say right, now that we've actually dug the area up, this is what we've found.

"That's when you go back to NZTA with a revised estimate."

He said council staff had made the damaged sites safe, but repair work could not begin until approval of the initial claim had been granted.

The earthquake also caused extensive cracking in Eketahuna's piped wastewater network.

Mr King said this had not affected service delivery, but was still of concern to the council.

"The public don't notice it, we notice it," he said.

"If you have cracked pipes the infiltration rate goes up. In other words, as we get lots of this rain you end up with more water going into the pipes and sewerage so therefore the plant's under a higher load."

He said the council had two concerns, one of which was environmental.

"So if the plant is now under high load, that creates some challenges because it has been very wet lately, and the second one is the timing for repairs.

"With a water network you can have what is called a ring-fed system, in other words if you shut off one main you can still supply an area from the other side.

"Sewerage tends to be all gravity, so if you take one pipe out you have to appreciate there's only a limited storage space in the pipes upstream," he said..

"So that means there is a lot of pressure on the guys to do it right first time. You don't get a lot of second chances."

The council has reminded residents they have until April 22 to submit claims to the Earthquake Commission (EQC).

The EQC said on Thursday that it had received a total of 3436 claims relating to the Eketahuna earthquake. Of those, 489 were from Tararua.

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- Manawatu Standard

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