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Safety of Civic carpark roof

20 May 2005

Extra measures planned to ensure safety of Civic carpark roof

Ongoing investigations of the Civic carpark roof beneath Aotea Square have found more structural damage and the Auckland City Council is imposing further restraints on the area’s use.

There is no immediate risk to the public but Robert Nelson, acting general manager for finance, says the council wants to ensure there is no risk at all.

Engineers have found additional cracks in the roof beams. The full extent of the problem will be identified by a full survey being launched now. It will be completed in the next few weeks. As a result of this, if any further structural changes occur they will be quickly identified.

The new precautionary measures (taking effect from today) include: fencing off half of the grassed area south of Aotea Square to minimise the impact of any spontaneous large meeting or gathering that might take place there.

The carpark runs underneath half of this grassed area. closing the vehicle access to Aotea Square next to Ticketek on the Albert Street side, and the access at the southern end of the square, between Aotea Centre and the Civic Administration Building vehicles coming into the square area will be weighed to ensure they comply with the maximum weight of 2.5 tonnes (a weighbridge is permanently in place at the entrance next to the Town Hall).

THE EDGE®, which manages events at the square, will monitor this. THE EDGE® is looking at reconfiguring the Aotea Square Markets events on Aotea Square will be looked at on a case by case basis. Auckland City is working closely with THE EDGE® to minimise the impact of the current situation on events that are already programmed for Aotea Square. Event organisers will be contacted by THE EDGE® as soon as possible to work through any associated issues.

Mr Nelson said the council had taken these immediate measures to ensure the public’s safety.

“I would rather be accused of being too cautious than the alternative. If our engineers tell us over the next few months we need to do more, we won’t hesitate,” he said.

The allowable load for uniform distribution of people is unchanged. It is 2.5kPa or 0.25 tonnes per square metre. In practical terms, this equates to a dense crowd of three to four people per square metre.

Mr Nelson said the fact the allowable load has not been revised highlights that the square remains safe for people to enjoy.

Council officers are investigating the long-term options for the carpark and major redevelopments in the area.

“As a result of the current issue, we are looking at whether or not all major projects planned for the area should be done together. The proposed redevelopment of Aotea Square and work on the Aotea Centre frontage are critically linked to the replacement of the carpark roof,” Mr Nelson said.

Engineering and financial information is being collated immediately and a report will be presented to the council’s Combined Committees meeting on 23 June.

ENDS


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