Work on the final step in the programme to restore parts of the Ōpaoa River to its pre-earthquake condition is underway.
An extensive dredging operation, aimed at restoring the river’s old water level through town, began yesterday and is expected to take until Christmas to complete.
While council has already reduced the amount of aquatic weed in the river, which has helped river levels and water flow, the dredging will deal with the channel narrowing and sediment build up down to Malthouse Road in the Lower Ōpaoa, to bring water levels down further during wet weather.
Council Rivers and Drainage Engineering Manager Geoff Dick said the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake caused a lot of damage to the river including a liquefaction-induced lateral spread on a large number of bends on the Lower Ōpaoa River.
"This caused the river banks on the inside of the bends to slump and slide into the waterway, narrowing the river channel in a number of places by up to five metres. This work will see the river’s edges return to their original position," he said.
Work will cover the area from the Ōpaoa Loop down to Malthouse Road and sediment removed from the river will be reused elsewhere. The $200,000 project is funded from Council’s disaster damage reserve.
Taylor River Reserve extension and upgrade
Work will also begin on 10 December to permanently repair earthquake damage to a section of the stop bank north of Park Terrace, between Opawa and Stuart streets. Council has purchased the land adjacent to the river to secure maintenance and increase public access, a new extension to the Taylor River Reserve.
This long standing project involves the reconstruction of the stop bank to modern standards, including a more stable riverside slope. A new concrete block retaining wall and boundary fence will be created along the new boundary, and the walkway from Stuart Street into town will be upgraded.
While this work is underway, access to the Taylor River Reserve, from Stuart Street and beyond Opawa Street, will be closed. Alternative access to the Ōpaoa River will be available via Opawa Street.
The riverside track will be closed from Monday 10 to Friday 21 December. It will then re-open for the holiday period, before work resumes again on Monday 7 January 2019.
The $400,000 construction project should be completed by April 2019.