Major construction works to strengthen Waitematā Harbour’s historic seawall are due to start this month.
Preparatory works have been underway since May as the first stage of the seismic strengthening programme which will safeguard Auckland’s waterfront for the next 100 years.
Strengthening the Quay Street seawall is the first step towards creating a revitalised waterfront area, with wider footpaths, easier navigation, new street furniture, more trees, and greater opportunity for business and events.
The works are part of the city’s 10-year Downtown Programme which is a joint venture between Auckland Council and Auckland Transport.
“Strengthening of the seawall is essential to protect Quay Street and the underground utilities within it,” Auckland Transport's Downtown Programme Director Eric van Essen says.
“Once the work has been completed we will upgrade and transform Quay Street, widening the footpaths, planting more trees, reducing vehicle volumes and giving more priority to pedestrians, people on bikes, and public transport users.”
The seawall will be strengthened in four sections, with consents for three already granted.
The Queens Wharf to Marsden Wharf section will be worked on first, with the Princes Wharf, Ferry Basin and Ferry Building sections following.
A tailored approach is being taken to the strengthening programme, with different methodologies used based on location, ground conditions and design requirements. The methodologies include installing a new palisade wall behind the existing wall and anchoring the existing wall.
Since the 1800’s the southern shore of the Waitematā Harbour has been an important place of transport, trade and commerce.
The seawall was first built between 1879 and 1886, to the west and east of Britomart, with more sections added after the turn of the 20th Century.
Auckland Council’s Downtown Programme staff are working closely with local businesses and stakeholders to ensure a positive experience is maintained for visitors and customers during construction.
Good Group Hospitality’s operations manager Hamish Klein says the council has been “excellent” at communicating during preparatory works.
“The communication has been amazing.
“We’ve had meetings with council staff and plenty of emails and texts… there seems to be a sense of urgency and a no surprise policy.”
With a number of businesses located along the waterfront, Mr Klein says it’s important to look at the “big picture”.
“The end result will be a waterfront that’s world-class. It will be a place where people can enjoy themselves, celebrate and have a good time.”
Funding for the Downtown Programme is provided through the Regional Fuel Tax (RFT), the city’s 2018-2028 Long-term Plan, the Regional Land Transport Programme, the City Centre Targeted Rate and third-party contributions.