This time last year ex-tropical cyclones Fehi and Gita caused over $81 million dollars of destruction during their six-week siege of New Zealand’s west coast.
The fury of Fehi and Gita forced the West Coast, Nelson and Tasman regions into a state of emergency; with many communities needing to evacuate their homes due to severe storms, flooding and contamination.
- Dunedin City Council reported more than 108mm of rainfall in Dunedin
- Up to 800 properties were vulnerable to flooding in the Dunedin area
- Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ) reported insurance claims of up to $45.9m
- The Met Office recorded a peak gust of 144km/h on Stephens Island
- On Port Taharoa Buoy, waves were recorded to reach 8.3m (with a rogue wave of 15m recorded)
- Rainfall exceeded 100mm in 15 different locations across NZ
- Thousands of Kiwis were left without power in Taranaki
- Roads were reported blocked and unsafe due to landslides
- ICNZ reported insurance claims of up to $35.6m
Alongside the destruction caused to the primary lifelines; clean water, food and shelter – was the damage caused to secondary transport networks.
SH1 (North of Wellington), and SH6 on the South Island (west coast at Punakaiki) received the brunt of Fehi and Gita’s wrath. Both saw major carriageway and structure damage – so intense that underground services were exposed.
The aftermath of Fehi and Gita called for an urgent response. In collaboration with Roading Infrastructure Management Support (RIMS), the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA), Infrastructure Decision Support (IDS), the New Zealand Utilities Advisory Group Inc. and The Road Efficiency Group (REG) – WSP delivered a scope of services, from technical advice and support to the design of the urgent repair work needed for the highway protection structures for both SH1 and SH6.
Matt Balkham, WSP Work Group Manager for Water Resources was the technical lead for the work carried out by the team. Matt’s expertise in erosion and flood-risk management allowed for the appropriate and practised assessment of the damages made – and solutions needed – for the two networks.