Thursday 29 October 2015

Flooding in Upper Hutt, Wellington - bridge collapses

This happened upstream, from where we live but apart from a bigger river I wouldn’t have known anything was untoward.

This is just a couple of kilometres from Upper Hutt.

I just did a report on the state of the Hutt River a few days ago.

Bridge collapses in Upper Hutt flooding

29 October, 2015

UPDATED 2.54pm: Seventy homes have been cut off after a bridge collapsed in Upper Hutt.

LISTEN: Newstalk ZB Wellington host Tim Fookes describes the scene with Danny Watson

The Bridge Road bridge has slumped in the middle, as a flood-swollen river races below.

Upper Hutt City Council said alternative routes for those unable to get to and from home are being investigated.

Water and gas services have been cut to the neighbourhood, while sewage is discharging into the Hutt River from pipes impacted by the collapse.

Alternative access to water is being looked at, and residents are asked not to drink water from the river.

The council said engineers have done a preliminary assessment of the collapse, and are now working out how badly damaged it is.

Residents affected are asked to stay home if they're there - and find alternative accommodation if they're not.


The bridge at Bridge Road has collapsed, cutting off around 70 properties.
Alternative routes for residents to access their properties are being investigated; it is important that people do not attempt to cross the river at any stage.

Due to this collapse, water and gas services have been cut to this neighbourhood; Sewage is currently discharging into the Hutt River from pipes impacted by the collapse. Power supply currently seems normal.

Alternative access to water services is being investigated. Residents are advised not to use the Hutt River as an alternative water supply due to sewage discharge.

Residents within the affected area are advised to stay at home. Check your emergency supplies, particularly water.

Affected residents who are not at their properties are advised to seek alternative accommodation.

Engineers are continuing to assess the bridge to find out what caused the collapse, although it is likely the high river level and its reasonable flow have attributed to the collapse.

Check the Upper Hutt City Council website and Facebook page for further information and regular updates.

At this stage alternative access for both residents and household services has not been determined; however these updates will be supplied through usual channels as soon as information becomes available.

Flooding is also causing problems in other parts of the Wellington region.

A number of roads are closed on the Kapiti Coast, with flooding at Paraparaumu, Otaki and Waikanae.

In Lower Hutt, Block Road is closed, as is the Riverbank carpark.

PS. News is starting to come through now.

Bridge collapses as heavy rain hits
An Upper Hutt bridge has collapsed and some roads and properties on the Kapiti Coast are flooded after heavy rain, although the deluge is expected to ease.

29 October, 2015

The bridge at Bridge Road in the Upper Hutt suburb of Birchville has visibly slumped. The bridge at Bridge Road in the Upper Hutt suburb of Birchville has visibly slumped. Photo: RNZ / Tom Furley

About 140mm of rain was recorded at Taungata in the Tararua Ranges between 1pm Wednesday and midday today.

The collapse of the bridge at Bridge Road in the Upper Hutt suburb of Birchville has cut off 70 properties.

Naomi Hutchinson is one of the stranded residents where the bridge collapsed.
She said the bridge was crucial infrastructure for Birchville residents.

"I don't know what the plan is but from what I have heard, it looks like we need a new bridge. The other issue is that the bridge carried the water and the gas."

About 70 properties have been cut off by the bridge failure.About 70 properties have been cut off by the bridge failure.  Photo: RNZ / Tom Furley

he Upper Hutt City Council said it had conducted a preliminary assessment of the collapse and as now working with specialised bridge engineers and infrastructure service providers to determine the extent of the damage.

MetService said the heavy rain north of Wellington was now easing.

Forecaster Gerard Barrow said another heavy dump of up to 30 millimetres was forecast to fall before 4pm but the rain should then ease.

"There will still be some rain and showers affecting the Tararua Range until about 3am Friday morning, but it's not going to be as intensive."

Meanwhile, Kāpiti Coast District Council civil defence controller Scott Dray said the council had received about 20 calls for help, six of which were requests for sandbags.

Slips closed Akatarawa Road this morning.Slips closed Akatarawa Road this morning. Photo: SUPPLIED / Kapiti Coast District Council

Staff had pumped out two private properties and one piece of reserve land.
"We are not aware of any private homes being flooded - just sections and possibly one garage at this stage," he said.

The Akatarawa Road (on the Upper Hutt side) is impassable after a mudslide, and the Ōtaki Gorge Road is partially blocked.

Mr Dray said the Ōtaki Gorge Road was passable by ute and it was expected it would be opened to all traffic later this afternoon.

Otaihanga Domain in Paraparaumu at 11.30am on Thursday. Otaihanga Domain in Paraparaumu on Thursday morning.Photo

An el- Nino event


This is the Hutt river 20 miles downstream from where there was 140 mm (5.5 inches) of rain in the Tararua range overnight which took out a bridge on which 70 households are dependant for electrity, gas and access.

This is definitely an el-Nino, abrupt climate change event.

Where I live nearby to where these photos were taken there was very little rain. All I could say is the pavement is wet. The river is the only clue to the deluge up-river.

My suspision is that river levels will sink very quickly and make little difference to the drought we are moving into.

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