Tuesday, December 13, 2011

More River Road Ghosts, Christchurch Quakes

Wed 14.12.11. A rainy morn, after more than a year of quakes & aftershocks. I wandered River Rd, between Swanns Rd Bridge & Fitzgerald Ave, a ghost section I hadn't seen since the 2010-2011 quakes. I often passed that Avon River stretch, Avonside Dr side, in the mornings when I drove Luke to Sullivan Ave tech.

Images, quake damaged River Rd:


14.12.11. Cnr Swanns Rd / River Rd view of road pump & quake damaged Swanns Rd Bridge


14.12.11. Quake ghost house behind cordon fencing & portaloo, cnr River Rd / Swanns Rd

I parked my car on Swanns Rd, as River Rd was road-blocked by a gang of road workers digging a hole on Avon River bank. Repairs went on at Avonside Girls HS, on the opposite bank, Avonside Dr side.


14.12.11. Post quake, River Rd excavation site, nr Swanns Rd Bridge



14.12.11. Trash truck, River Rd, by Avon River


14.12.11. Quake ghost house, River Rd

Between Swanns Rd Bridge & Stanmore Rd Bridge, River Rd was in bad condition; shingle, tar seal patches, cracked curbs & pavements. Ditto the other side of Stanmore Rd Bridge, towards Fitzgerald Ave, riverside slumping by bridges on both riverbanks.


14.12.11. River Rd view of quake ghost houses, Avonside Dr, by Avon River


14.12.11. Quake trashed garden wall, River Rd


14.12.11. Quake trashed curb, River Rd


14.12.11. River Rd view of Avon River & Avonside Dr / Woodham Rd / Linwood Ave crossing


14.12.11. River Rd view of Avon River & Avonside Dr

On Avonside Dr, I daily drove over widening cracks & pot holes, regularly tar sealed. 15 months post 04.09.10 quake & 10 months post 22.02.11 quake, Avon River bank was still unstable, slumping, with the ebb & flow of tides. Daily pounding by heavy traffic aggravated slumping due to lateral spreading.


14.12.11. Quake ghost house, River Rd




14.12.11. Electrical sub station, River Rd & view across Avon River to Avonside Girls HS repair site


14.12.11. Quake ghost house, River Rd



On River Rd, there were many ghost houses, long grass in gardens, rank weeds, flowers & shrubs growing wild, obscuring driveways & quake trashed ghost houses. Some ghost houses had cut grass, but were obviously uninhabited, windows closed, everything locked up. Some home owners maintained the illusion of houses being inhabited, by cutting grass to stop burglars.


14.12.11. Quake ghost house, River Rd



14.12.11. Quake ghost house & fallen chimney, River Rd



14.12.11. Quake house demolition site, River Rd

One big ghost house looked OK, but the side driveway & undercover parking was a mess: liquefaction mud everywhere, a boundary retaining wall was braced with planks.


14.12.11. Quake ghost house, River Rd




14.12.11. Wood braced, retaining wall, between quake ghost houses, River Rd




14.12.11. Quake ghost house, River Rd



14.12.11. Quake trashed / part repaired, River Rd / Stanmore Rd crossing, by Stanmore Rd Bridge


In the rain, there wasn't much action on River Rd, a jogger, a cyclist, a wary woman peering from her first floor flat window. No one played tennis at Avonside Tennis Club, too wet. A yellow rubbish truck rumbled by, stopping to empty the few rubbish bins from inhabited houses.


14.12.11. Avonside Tennis Club, River Rd

There were grand, old houses along River Rd, about half were ghost houses. Old, brick houses & garden walls were shaken to bits. Bricks & stones lay where they fell. I saw big gaps in old, wooden house walls in several ghost houses. Liquefaction mud still lay on driveways, 10 months post Feb 22 quake & 6 months post June 13 quake.


14.12.11. River Rd view of upstream Avon River, nr Stanmore Rd Bridge


14.12.11. Ghost house & quake trashed garden wall, River Rd


14.12.11. Quake ghost house, River Rd



Across Avon River, Avonside Dr houses looked in better condition, few ghost houses there, despite busy road traffic.


14.12.11. River Rd view across Avon River of Avonside Dr house. Roadside, green, plastic, sewage tank in foreground


I had a good look at the old, brick house on River Rd / Fitzgerald Ave corner. It was kaput, overgrown garden, wall cracks, big gaps by windows, bricks fallen off walls. The house was demolished post Xmas quake swarm.


14.12.11. Quake trashed / part repaired River Rd, between Stanmore Rd / Fitzgerald Ave crossings


14.12.11. Quake trashed / part repaired, River Rd / Fitzgerald Ave junction


14.12.11. Quake trashed / part repaired, River Rd / Fitzgerald Ave junction view of "Pickwicks" demolition site, Fitzgerald Ave

I drove past that ghost house daily, while dodging Fitzgerald Ave obstacle course: plastic road barriers & orange cones, while repairs went on at northbound Fitzgerald Ave, which collapsed in the Feb 22 quake by Avon Loop.


14.12.11. Quake ghost house, cnr River Rd / Fitzgerald Ave. The house was demolished post Xmas quake swarm




Images, quake damaged Fitzgerald Ave:

14.12.11. Cnr River Rd / Fitzgerald Ave view of Feb 22 quake collapsed, northbound Fitzgerald Ave by Avon Loop



Fifteen months post 04.09.10 quake, EQC, insurers, CERA & construction firms were delaying the CBD & residential housing rebuild, but were running out of excuses.

The recently released Tonkin & Taylor geotech report said it was OK to rebuild on red zone Christchurch CBD land. Trumpets & tambourines by mayor Parker. Never mind Avon River running through the red zone CBD & vast areas of the red zone CBD liquefactioned with 100s of quake trashed CBD bldgs demolished post 04.09.10 quake. Many more demolitions still to go.

The CBD Fault, which damaged the CBD in the 26.12.10 quake, ran under the CBD. Why did Tonkin & Taylor think the CBD Fault was safe in the CBD red zone, when further downstream 1 000s of houses were red zoned?

Avon River ran beyond red zone CBD through red zone riverside suburbs to the Pacific. Massive areas in riverside suburbs were red zoned by CERA, with 1 000s of people displaced. Tonkin & Taylor engineers & Council hadn't learnt a thing, mired in the mind set of rebuilding on quake ravaged CBD land.

Council revised its CBD rebuild plan for CERA minister Brownlee to sign, without thought for an alternative sited, safer CBD rebuild. No plan B.

October 2012: Nearly a year later, the red zone, cordoned CBD was still occupied by CERA. Red zone checkpoints were still manned by NZDF soldiers. More demolitions had happened, but little rebuild had happened in the CBD nor residential suburbs.

Ditto Nov 2013. NZDF soldiers would occupy the CBD for 28 months.

06.01.12. Two weeks post 23.12.11 quake swarm, I looked at Fitzgerald Ave Bridge & the quake damaged, brick house, corner Fitzgerald Ave / River Rd. The house was quake trashed, with more collapsed brickwork & a teetering front wall. I was spooked very time I snapped that brick house. The house was soon demolished. The house was a perfect example of dithering & delays regarding demolitions. It took several quakes before someone woke up to the fact the house was dangerous & needed demolition.

Most River Rd houses I saw that day would be demolished by CERA.

Images, quake damaged River Rd:


06.01.12. Quake trashed, brick house, cnr River Rd / Fitzgerald Ave, post 23.12.11 quake swarm. The house was demolished







Fitzgerald Ave Bridge was damaged in the 22.02.11 quake, with concrete abutment tilted out of river mud at an odd angle, River Rd side. I'd seen several Avon River bridges with similar quake damages to abutments.

Concrete span / abutment joins & steel hand rail joins were my quick way of assessing bridge damages, as spans shimmied against abutments during quakes, causing spalled concrete, cracks & buckled tar seals. Abutments often slid into mud at odd angles. Steel hand rails often split at span / abutment joins. Hand rail splits were often more than a foot apart, at odd angles, depending on how concrete structures below had moved during a quake.


06.01.12. River Rd view over Fitzgerald Ave Bridge, towards "Pickwicks" demolition site, post 23.12.11 quake swarm


06.01.12. Quake tilted, cracked, concrete abutment, Fitzgerald Ave Bridge, cnr River Rd / Fitzgerald Ave, post 23.12.11 quake swarm. See quake split, steel hand rail


It was about time Council / SCIRT  started fixing bridges & roads properly, as vehicle suspension fixers rubbed their hands in glee, earning mega-bucks from wheel alignments & replacing broken suspensions caused by pot holed roads, especially in suburbs east of Fitzgerald Ave. Years would pass before SCIRT completed repairs to quake damaged bridges.

Content & pics Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

See CERA demolitions list


See City blueprint to get go-ahead (The Press / Stuff Co)

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