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Council confident Cashel Street can reopen

Council staff are confident that the area of Cashel Street , closed since the Boxing Day aftershocks, can reopen to foot traffic tomorrow ( 29 December).

Inspections and Enforcement Manager, Manager Gary Lennan says Council’s focus today has been working towards reinstating pedestrian access to Cashel Street . Council is aiming to remove the wider cordon between Colombo Street and Oxford by start of business tomorrow morning. Unsafe buildings within the area will however need to been individually cordoned off, allowing access to buildings which are not a danger..

Council building inspectors and contracted structural engineers today continued the evaluation of buildings within the four avenues,
Although some building evaluation reports still need to be processed Inspectors have confirmed that 115 buildings require remedial work and have served them with formal repair notices. This is done by attaching a warning notice to either the building or to the safety barriers immediately outside. Council then mails instructions to the building owners outlining the process to get the warning notices lifted.

However Mr Lennan warns that the process to get people back into their buildings and to remove or reduce cordons may take time.

“We know this is a difficult time of year for building owners to get the engineering advice they need and to find contractors able to carry out the work. Although some building owners have already been able to carry out some remedial work, it is highly likely that there won’t be much progress with building repair work and lifting barriers and cordons until the end of the holiday period (10 January).

“Most contractors and demolition companies take a break over this period so repair or removal of earthquake-damaged properties in the city may be slow.’’

Mr Lennan says that Council, the Fire Service and Police have been working “extremely hard’’ since the Boxing day aftershock to ensure public safety. Now the building evaluations have taken place, it is the responsibility of building owners to have their building assessed by a structural engineer. They need to determine how to remove the danger in order to safely reduce or remove the cordons, he says.

Building and Business owners may contact Council on 9416789 if they are unsure what to do.

Council engineers have also assessed and cleared the tramline and the trams be back in operation tomorrow, 29 December 2010.

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