Wild weather ‘perfect storm’ for waterlogged Kāpiti
After another wild weekend of weather across the country, Kāpiti Coast District Council is warning residents that while the district may have fared better than others, there are weeks of clean-up work ahead thanks to a ‘perfect storm’ of conditions.
“We’ve had minor slips and ponding across the district over the weekend which, compared to other parts of New Zealand, feels like we got off lightly,” says Glen O’Connor, Access and Transport Manager.
“But we’ve got at least six weeks of repair and maintenance work ahead before we can get back to business as usual.
“The successive weather events this year have made a real mess of our roads with potholes and pavement failures popping up across the network. Just like you can damage a sports field by using it after rain, heavy vehicles can open up weaknesses in the surface of repeatedly waterlogged roads.
“This means our roads have shorter lifespans with increased need for maintenance. For example, some roads that should have a remaining lifespan of two or three years now need repairs within two or three months.
“To add to the complexity, Kāpiti is currently experiencing significantly raised groundwater levels and issues with standing water. Water isn’t draining as quickly as it normally would which impacts the effectiveness of our stormwater network.
“Rounding out our perfect storm, our infrastructure and roading teams, as well as our contractors and suppliers, continue to be challenged by staff shortages, COVID-19 and other illness. We work around the clock during weather events and need to prioritise resource. Because of this our response times might take longer than normal for the next few months.
“We’re really limited in the repairs we can do when the ground is so wet. They are often temporary measures to improve safety in the short-term so you’ll see us back at some sites multiple times until the weather improves and resources are available to undertake permanent repairs.”
This week, available resource will focus on storm repairs and significant work to reinforce the riverbank at Maungakotukutuku Stream to prevent further washouts of Maungakotukutuku Road.
“Over the next six week, we are prioritising slips and erosion repairs along with clearing and reinstating roadside drainage systems. We will also focus on getting on top of potholes and other pavement failures, especially on arterial routes,” says Mr O’Connor.
“We know this is frustrating for our residents – it’s frustrating for us as well. We are working hard to be everywhere we need to be, as quickly as possible. I’m asking our community for a little bit of patience and understanding of the challenges we are facing.”