Quake strengthening saved millions
The cost of the Canterbury earthquakes would have been much higher if quake strengthening work had not been done from the late 1990s at ''lifeline utilities'', a report says.
The report, The Value of Lifeline Seismic Risk Mitigation in Christchurch, was commissioned by the Earthquake Commission and released today.
The report was produced by a committee of essential services, such as electricity, telecommunications, transport, water and sewerage.
It identifies how Christchurch benefited from the seismic strengthening work and collaboration that took place in the late 1990s between the utility companies.
The strengthening work had been spurred by a report from a Christchurch engineering group in 1997 called Risks and Realities.
The lifeline utilities report said that since 1997 Christchurch companies not only seismically strengthened physical assets but also improved the way the organisations operated and worked with other essential services in readiness for natural disasters.
The $6 million spent by Orion over several years in strengthening its network saved the company about $65m in direct asset repairs and replacement costs after the quakes.
Some of the risk-lowering measures were not expensive, the report said.
The measures Christchurch utilities took from 1997 included:
~ Strengthening work at the Port of Lyttelton, enabling it to resume operations within days of the September and February quakes.
~ $6 million of seismic strengthening of the Orion electricity network year by year from 1996 and new facilities designed to withstand a one-in-500-year quake.
~ Seismic restraint work on the national grid by state company Transpower.
~ Seismic bracing of telecommunications equipment that continued to operate after the quakes.
~ Duplication of parts of Telecom's network that kept the 111 service running through backups in other parts of the country.
~ Screening of bridges and retrofitting by the Christchurch City Council and NZ Transport Agency.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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