Monday, February 26, 2024

Work under way to repair road slip but questions remain

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Construction company boss Ross Faulkner has concerns about the environmental impact of a road slip in Mellons Bay. Times photo Wayne Martin

An east Auckland road is being repaired to prevent part of it from falling down the cliff below but concerns are being raised about whether the work being done is sufficient.

As the Times reported late last year, a section of Marine Parade in Mellons Bay, on the coastal side and adjacent to a grass bank, is impacted by a slip that saw one lane blocked to vehicles as cracks on the road widened.

Award-winning local building company Faulkner Construction had a project under way on Marine Parade at the time.

Its managing director Ross Faulkner had major concerns about the slip and the action being taken to fix it.

One of his main worries was access for people living on the road west of the slip.

He said a slip could take out the main sewer line, “because it’s very close to the slip line”.

“That’s going to be a major problem for anyone who lives up that end of the road, if they haven’t got a sewer line to be able to flush their toilets and have a shower.”

Faulkner contacted Auckland Transport (AT) via its website in November 2022 to raise concerns about the slip, but never heard back.

He recently told the Times a series of piles has been drilled and a retained area built up so it’s almost back to the road level.

“[I’m] not sure what they’re planning, if anything, for the reserve area that had shown ground pressure waves between the new retaining that’s being constructed, and the cliff edge.

“There needs something to be done to stop this area slipping down the cliff.

“Every tide that comes in collects silt from the slipped debris at the cliff base and slowly disperses it across the Howick reef structure and beach.

“Developers and builders have major heat applied [to them] if one of their sites doesn’t have and maintain silt fencing to stop silt runoff entering the waterways.”

Faulkner says he isn’t sure why Auckland Council isn’t being held to the same rules and standards.

“Surely we should be able to look to them for best practice methods?

“I don’t believe sitting on your hands and just leaving nature to look after itself is an acceptable solution.

“We should see the council is concerned for the marine environment and pay it more attention than what we’re currently seeing.”

The council said last year it was aware of the slip and at that stage didn’t have concerns “about debris or silt to the coastal environment”.

An AT spokesperson says it completed the piles and retaining structure prior to Christmas to hold the road.

It was planning to start stormwater relocation, depending on the weather, the week beginning January 22, and to complete the kerb and channel and pavement works within the following two weeks.

“We have a slit fence at the work site to ensure all construction debris is managed without any debris flowing into the estuary. At the end of the project, the reserve will be tidied up with topsoil and grass.

“On site, we could not identify any slip debris going into the estuary as the movement of the slip is restricted to within the reserve, and material has not moved to the cliff edge.

“There is natural erosion of the cliff face, which has been happening for a long time and is not at all related to the current slippage of the road.”

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