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Major Hutt River flood protection project begins

Greater Wellington is the promotional name of the Wellington Regional Council
News release

18 December 2003

Major Hutt River flood protection project begins

A $15 million project to improve the level of flood protection in the Ava to Ewen reach of the Hutt River has begun with the appointment of a contractor for the first stage, relocating the river into Strand Park.

The project involves realigning the river and raising and strengthening stopbanks between Ava Rail Bridge and Ewen Bridge, Lower Hutt.

Greater Wellington flood protection manager Geoff Dick says Cashmore Contracting Ltd has been awarded the $3.8 million contract to relocate the river channel into Strand Park.

“From March 2004, the contractor will begin trucking in rock in preparation for realignment of the river channel over the 2004/05 summer. The realignment involves shifting the river into Strand Park and then constructing a rock lining and four large rock groynes on the western side to stabilise the river’s new position,” Mr Dick says.

“The rock lining will absorb about 30,000 tonnes of rock. There’s a lot of preparatory work to be done before any construction can begin. We ask for the public’s patience during this time,” Mr Dick says.

Once complete, the realignment will then enable the Alicetown stopbank to be upgraded to give residents greater flood protection. The Alicetown stopbank upgrade will be completed by December 2006.
Greater Wellington Landcare Committee chairman Chris Laidlaw says, “This project is the first substantial step towards implementation of the Hutt River Floodplain Management Plan which was designed to minimise the impact of a major flood in the Hutt Valley.”

Alicetown residents near the stopbank have been sent a newsletter about the proposed works.
A sign and viewing platform will be installed by the Ewen Bridge by June 2004.

Strand Park will be closed for organised sports from the end of school term one, April 2004, and casual access to the park will be restricted during construction. The work sites, including rock stockpiles, will be fenced.

More detailed information about the timing of the project will be available in February.


NEWSLETTER 3 December 2003
Ava to Ewen flood protection improvements

Key dates

December 2003
- Contractor appointed for Stage One
March 2004
- Contractor sets up site office at Ava Park
- Truckloads of rock stockpiled at Ava Park for construction work
March – June 2004
- Viewing platform constructed at Tama Street near Ewen Bridge
8 April 2004 – September 2005
- Strand Park closed to sports activities
March 2004 – December 2006
- Ava Park closed
February 2004
- Next newsletter with more information

Flood protections works start
We (Greater Wellington) are about to begin the flood protection improvements planned for the Hutt River between the Ava Rail Bridge and the Ewen Bridge. These improvements will be done in four stages over a seven year period.
It took longer than expected but we have now purchased Strand Park from the Ministry of Education. We have spoken with Hutt Valley High School to ensure that we can meet the schools needs as much as possible.
Cashmore Contracting Ltd have been appointed to do Stage One of the works, the river re-alignment between the two bridges. They will arrive on site in early March.
This newsletter will provide you with an overview of the river re-alignment project and some of the key dates during this work. You will receive another newsletter in February 2004 with more specific information and dates for construction work.

River re-alignment – Stage One
The first stage of the flood protection works is to relocate the river channel into Strand Park. At the moment the western bank of the river is very close to the stopbank protecting houses in Alicetown. The river puts a lot of pressure on the stopbank at this point, which means it could fail in a large flood.
By taking some of the large area of river berm in Strand Park on the opposite side of the river, we can create a wider berm area to raise the height of the Alicetown stopbank and to protect this community.
The river re-alignment will involve making a new river channel, lining the new channel with rocks and building groynes. We will use Ava Park to stockpile the materials we will need. Trucks will start delivering rock in March 2004 and will be accessing this site from Wakefield Street.
Finally we will plant the river bank with willow and native plants.

Access to Strand Park
Organised sports activities in Strand Park will stop from the 8th of April, the end of school term one. Casual access to the park will also be restricted during construction.
After the flood protection works have been finished, there will be room in Strand Park for one full rugby field and three practice fields. Greater Wellington will be re-planting the river edges with native plants and putting in a walkway along the river.
The new Strand Park will be open again from September 2005.
Please call us if you require further information regarding the closure of Strand Park to sports activities.
Future stages
The upgrading of flood defences will take place over seven years. We will keep you informed through these newsletters about work taking place in the Ava to Ewen area, particularly when other stages of the project are about to begin.
Other key stages in the flood protection programme include;
Stage 2. Raising and strengthening the Alicetown stopbank,
Stage 3. Stopbank strengthening at the eastern end of the Ava Rail Bridge,
Stage 4. Upgrading the Strand Park stopbank.
We will landscape and plant native plants after each stage.

About the Hutt River
The Hutt River Flood Plain Management Plan recognises the risk of flooding from the Hutt River. It outlines how we will manage this risk to achieve the level of flood protection decided by the community.
The stretch of the Hutt River between Ava Rail Bridge and Ewen Bridge has been identified as high priority in the Plan. In fact this is the first reach to have a major upgrade in accordance with the Plan.
When completed, the upgraded flood protection system for the Hutt River will be built to protect against a 1 in 440 year flood.

More information about flooding in the Hutt River can be found in the Hutt River Floodplain Management Plan, 2001.
Copies of this are available at the Regional Council, the Hutt City Council, Alicetown Community Centre, the Moera Community House and public libraries.
You can also visit our website www.gw.govt.nz

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