Work has begun on a 12-month project to repair the earthquake damage to New Brighton's landmark pier.
The repairs focus on damage sustained by the pier's support columns at seabed-level, however, cosmetic damage to the deck and railings will also be fixed.
“Most of the work will be going on below sea-level,” explains David Adamson, General Manager City Services with the Christchurch City Council.
“Fulton Hogan will be working inside caissons, which are segmented watertight tubes. The caissons will be driven firmly into the sea-bed, built up around each of the damaged pier columns with a watertight seal, and then all the seawater will be pumped out.
“It’s a really interesting process that you don’t see too often in Christchurch,” Mr Adamson says. “I’m told it’s a bit unnerving when you’re standing under all that water, but the caissons create a safe, dry space in which to work.
“It’s also the fastest option. Some of the damage has left the Pier's support columns vulnerable to rust, and the faster we fix them, the less chance there is for them to deteriorate in the marine environment. This work is essential if the Pier is to have a long lifespan, so this is great news for everyone who likes to make the most of one of Christchurch’s major attractions.”
The Pier performed as expected during the earthquakes, and remains safe to use. The impact on visitors to the pier will be minimised. With the exception of the occasional closure to allow contractor vehicles to come and go, the pier will remain open to the public throughout. Popular events based around New Brighton Pier, including the Treetech Guy Fawkes Fireworks Spectacular, the Coast to Coast and the New Zealand Surf Life Saving Championships, will all go ahead as planned through 2017.
The repair project has a budget of $9.7 million, and is expected to be completed by February 2018.
The adjacent New Brighton Library is currently closed for repairs, and is set to reopen on Monday, February 13.