by Lindsay Shelton, October 11, 2016. Link here.

A report from the Wellington City Council identifies a “worst case scenario” if only trucks are used to carry the rocks needed to build a longer runway at Wellington Airport.

The report, prepared by the council for the airport’s resource consent application, says that 252 people sent submissions that were concerned about traffic during the four year construction period, and 202 people were concerned about noise.

The council report states:

The Project has the potential to generate adverse noise effects given the scale of works proposed, the duration of the construction project, and the proposed night-time construction works. In addition, the Project proposes road haulage of fill during off-peak periods (9.30am-2.30pm, and 10pm-6.00am) during weekdays, which will generate traffic noise effects on properties along the haulage route.

The applicant has provided a Construction Noise Assessment … which assesses the noise effects associated with constructing the runway extension, and the land-based transportation of construction materials (including fill) to the site. The report also identifies measures to mitigate such noise.

A noise expert has reviewed the airport’s proposal and has found that

The Project includes a construction duration of 48 months (or greater), and due to airport operations, construction will be focused at night when construction activity is usually avoided near residential activities.

The nearby residential properties on Moa Point Road will be significantly affected by the proposed night time construction noise (with noise levels of up to 14dB over the night limit of 45dBLAEQ), and some properties on Kekerenga and Ahuriri Streets to a lesser extent will also besignificantly affected (ie, up to 8dB over the night limit of 45dBLAEQ). The noise effects will have the potential to result in sleep disturbance and associated health issues for the residents of the Moa Point Road properties,and sleep impairment for the residents of some properties on Kekerenga and Ahuriri Streets.

There are limited opportunities for mitigation at source, namely onsite construction noise mitigation measures, or mitigation measures on public land.

The applicant has assessed the night truck movements in terms of traffic noise, and has established a programme of reduced truck numbers to keep the increase in noise emissions at an acceptable level. This approach is supported and would ensure truck noise does not become significant for neighbouring residents to the haul route.

The applicants’ noise assessment does not address the effects of the outbound day haulage route along Lyall Parade and Onepu Road. This is less likely to have significant effects given it’s during the day, but this assessment should still be undertaken to provide a clear understanding of the overall traffic noise

[A consultant] has identified that mitigation measures targeted at a set number of properties (on Moa Point Road, Kekerenga and Ahuriri Streets) are essential, and without this, the noise effects on occupants of these properties will be potentially significant. [He] further recommends that these mitigation measures be included as consent conditions. These proposed mitigation measures, such as relocation and acoustic insulation of properties, rely on the co-operation and permission of the property owners or occupiers.

…While these mitigation measures may significantly improve the impact of construction noise on these parties, there is no obligation for the owners or occupiers to accept alterations to their houses or to temporary relocation during the construction period. In the event that such measures are not accepted by them, there will remain a significant noise effect on these parties.

… it ultimately will depend on whether the applicant can manage to obtain agreement from these people for either mitigation option. If this cannot be
obtained, then there remains a significant construction noise effect, which will be unacceptable.

The council report also assesses the effect of construction traffic:

The worst case scenario is assessed from a traffic perspective, that being that all fill will be sourced from Kiwi Point and Horokiwi Quarries and transported to the site via road haulage. Therefore, the Council’s construction traffic assessment has been 2709846_2 based on road transport of all fill within the parameters (i.e. truck numbers, haulage routes, operating times, etc) proposed by the applicant.

The haulage traffic is likely to have the most discernible level of traffic effects given the overall volume of heavy trucks on the roading network where land based transportation of fill material is adopted (up to 620 daily truck movements/60 trucks per hour). The applicant has acknowledged these effects, and has proposed haulage routes and variable truck movements (i.e. differing truck numbers at different times of the day and week) to address them.

The proposed haulage traffic travel times avoid commuter and school traffic peaks, and weekends, which is appropriate.
The route selection, being predominately the state highway network with day time use of Lyall Parade and Onepu Road, is appropriate.
 The use of high performance motor vehicles (HPMVs) is an appropriate choice of haulage vehicle will minimise the total number of truck movements

Haulage via road is, from a traffic perspective, the worst case scenario. While the applicant has requested the worst case scenario be assessed as part of this application, this should be avoided if at all possible and should only be used if all other non-road based options are exhausted.

The report also states:

As already noted however in terms of noise, the proposed mitigation measures in the form of purchasing the affected properties, providing temporary re-housing during construction works, or providing acoustic insulation and mechanical ventilation rely on property owners or other occupants accepting these options.

Where this does not occur, the residents are exposed to some significant noise effects.

With respect to visual amenity, as outlined previously, the residents of Moa Point Road will experience the greatest level of visual amenity effects, which are unable to be mitigated. For the Moa Point residents it is unlikely that these objectives and policies will be met.

Read also:
Regional Council report identifies issues during runway construction

Link here.

The Regional Council last week released a 165-page staff report analysing Wellington Airport’s application for permission to extend its runway.

The report, on the airport’s resource consent application, confirms that of the 776 submissions received, 527 were against the runway extension, 227 were in support of it (either in full or in part), and there were 18 neutral submissions and four conditional.

The airport is seeking permission for reclamation work to be carried out seven days a week, 24 hours a day. The proposed construction programme indicates that reclamation filling could take between 5 and 18 months depending on the source of material. The entire project will take up to four years.

The report refers to 310 trucks per day taking loads from quarries to the reclamation site:

Traffic emissions during construction will arise from trucks transporting fill material to the construction zones at the airport and construction vehicles at the airport construction site…The applicant considers that it is unlikely that there will be any measurable changes in vehicle related combustion emissions from 310 trucks per day…. [An expert] has advised that the covering of loads is “best practice and will satisfactorily mitigate potential fugitive dust over the haul route.”

Though no final decision seems to have yet been made on the use of barges, the airport is expecting that:

between 15 – 25 barges (i.e. 30 – 50 two way movements) will be required to operate each day (over an 18 hour period) over a 5 – 18 month period.

Barges transporting fill material to the construction site will follow the existing shipping route within Wellington Harbour to a point opposite Pencarrow Head. From there, barges will travel across the harbour entrance and around to the construction zone. It is intended that this route on the east side of the bay entrance will minimise disruption to recreational activities in the bay such as surfing, kiteboarding and stand-up paddle boarding.

Among concerns raised in the staff report is the effect of runway reclamation on the city’s wastewater outfall:

The Moa Point wastewater treatment plant coastal outfall passes through the area of the proposed reclamation. In the early phases of the work it is proposed to construct a protection structure over the outfall pipe to avoid damage due to the placement of the dyke and reclamation fill.

And here are the concerns:

The construction of a protection structure over the MOP has the potential for adverse effects on the environment should the works result in damage to the MOP, specifically the discharge of treated wastewater into the CMA at the works location. Further, the runway extension construction works could impact the interceptor main and sludge pipeline.

The application states that the effects of the reclamation construction on the MOP include loading stress on the pipeline and settlement of sediment/gravels under the pipeline. However, the application does not outline the consequences of damage to the pipeline and potential pollution of Lyall Bay of wastewater should this occur. Nor does the applicant recognise the potential for adverse effects on other infrastructure, specifically the interceptor main nd sludge pipeline.

Concerns from the Wellington City Council are described:

Construction activities … could affect the sludge pipeline (which carries sludge to the Southern Landfill) that generally follows Moa Point Road and the wastewater interceptor main under the southern end of the existing
runway that carries sewage to the WWTP. The sludge pipeline is a high
pressure pipeline and any damage or breach of it will result in significant adverse effects on the environment.

In their submission, WCC seek the protection of the pipeline, inceptor main and sludge pipeline in both their physical extents and their operational and maintenance capabilities. The submitter (WCC) states that any damage to the outfall or restriction in being able to maintain and operate the outfall has the potential to cause significant costs to the community in both monetary and environment…

[The city council is] not convinced that ‘burying’ the MOP under the runway reclamation is an acceptable result. A more detailed outline of the process to agree the mitigation and timing of its implementation is considered to be required in the consent conditions.

The airport’s view:

… the MOP will either be protected in place or realigned so that it will not be impacted by the reclamation. It will be up to the form of contract and the final construction programme whether moving (which will require additional consents) or protecting the outfall takes place prior to or concurrent with marine based reclamation works.

The report uses diplomatic words in its summaries. Here’s one of the summaries.

The proposed runway extension and SWFS will likely result in minor
effects in relation to physical disturbance and loss of habitat;

Construction noise, vibration and light will likely result in minor effects on
mammals and fish;

Sediment discharges during ground improvement work, placement of the
rock dyke, earthworks to remove the hillock and as a result of dewatering will likely result in minor effects;

Adverse effects from the proposal on the Taputeranga Reserve are likely to be less than minor.

Over 200 submissions raised concern about construction and operational noise. The report identifies the effect of the construction work on recreational users in the Lyall Bay area. They

… will be exposed to construction and haul route noise. Recreational users on Moa Point Road and beach and the breakwater will experience the highest level of construction noise (up to 60 dB) and haul route noise (61 dB).

But not to worry.

In summary, provided the applicant complies with the recommended conditions of consent, we consider the effects of construction noise on recreational users of the CMA in Lyall Bay will be less than minor.


Effects on recreational users of the CMA at Moa Point is likely to be more than minor given its close proximity to the construction site. Albeit temporary (up to 48 months) construction noise will likely impact recreational amenity in this area

Other effects are identified, including fishing:

The temporary exclusion zone around the proposed runway extension construction site will restrict access to approximately half of the area used for gathering seafood between Moa Point and Hue-te-taha Peninsula during construction (3-4 years).

and surfing:

Access to the surf break Airport Rights will be lost permanently from commencement of the proposed runway construction.

Expert advice from Dr Michael Steven states:

I consider short term effects on water-based recreational activities, such as surfing and gathering kai moana to be more than minor within the areas of the exclusion zones. For some recreationists, such as surfers, adverse effects from the SWFS exclusion zone may be unacceptably adverse in the short term, and unable to be mitigated.
For expert surfers, the loss of the Airport Rights break may be regarded as an unacceptable outcome, and an outcome that is beyond the potential of the SWFS to mitigate.
In summary, we consider the effects on surfing amenity as a result of the proposed runway extension will be more than minor because the Airport Rights surf break will be completely lost and the three other surf spots in Lyall Bay could have a reduction in characteristic surf rides of between 14-29%.

Dr Steven has also advised:

The proposed runway extension will result in highly adverse effects on the biophysical landscape/seascape in Lyall Bay east/Moa Point embayment (compared to the moderate rating applied by the applicant) given the proposal involves a total loss of 10.8ha of marine environment and its replacement with a terrestrial form.

For residents on Moa Point Road and the beach at Moa Point, I consider the effects on views from this area to be extreme, and unable to be remedied or mitigated. As such, I regard these effects as significant and unacceptably adverse.

Another expert considers the effects of the proposal on coastal bird habitat and says these will be more than minor and the potential effects on regional bird populations as a result of increased birdstrike could be significant.

The report however contains no analysis or criticism of the economic benefits being claimed for the longer runway:

With construction costs excluded, the economic wellbeing of the Wellington region has been assessed to improve by $1billion on the most likely scenario, even if that community were to fund the entire cost of the project through local and central taxes. The applicant acknowledges that how the runway extension would be funded is still to be determined.

The Regional Council’s report, in full, is here.

by Lindsay Shelton
The brutal reality of constructing a longer runway at Wellington Airport is revealed in one of the 27 reports that were published this week. It provides startling details of the number of trucks-with-trailers that will be needed to carry rocks through the city for the reclamation – one every minute, for ten hours every weekday.

Starting at Ngauranga or Horokiwi, they’ll carry their loads on State Highway 1 through the city, for at least five months. State Highway 1 means that each truck and its trailer-load of rocks will go through the Terrace Tunnel and then along Vivian Street, Kent Terrace, and through Mt Victoria Tunnel. The report is written by a Christchurch company, who can’t have been aware of the mayhem that so many huge trucks will cause in these already over-loaded central streets.

The information is in a report about “construction noise,” but it covers a much wider scope than just the noise:

There could be in the order of 300,000 CuM (cubic metre) of rock and Akmons, 120,000 CuM of stone, 1.1M CuM of general fill, and 75,000 CuM of granular pavement material, plus materials to make 7,000 CuM of concrete and 23,000 tonnes of bituminous surfacing material, which would need to be brought to the site on a regular basis over the [36 month] construction period. These materials would be conveyed to the construction site via a to-be-determined combination of land based and water based transport …

…The preferred [land] route is to use a ‘circular’ route with inbound materials being delivered to the construction site via SH1, Stewart Duff Drive through the airport precinct and on to Moa Point Road. The outbound route will continue northwards along Moa Point Road, Lyall Parade, Tirangi Road, Coutts Street, Bridge Street, Cairns Street, Ronotai Road, Jean Batten Street before joining on to SH1 via a left hand only intersection

Transportation of construction materials will occur Monday to Friday and will involve a 10 hour working day (0900h to 1500h, and 1800h to 2200h) on weekdays … The Traffic Design Group, transport consultants to WIAL, has estimated the average number of daily vehicle movements that would occur during the construction period. During peak periods of the construction programme, deliveries (truck and trailer unit) will not exceed 555 vehicles per day, or up to approximately 60 vehicles per hour …

…Transportation of materials via water based means is likely to include a fleet of bottom dump barges which will import reclamation fill from either a port, ‘borrow pit’ or via dredging and then transferred to the construction site or to a temporary staging pontoon/berth. The barges would operate on a revolving basis until such time that they can no longer float over the rock dyke…For the purposes of this assessment it has been assumed that there are an estimated six deliveries by barge per day (i.e. 12 two-way movements).

Then there’s the noise – which will be heard at night, during the curfew.

Certain activities during airport operating hours could pose a flight safety risk because of the height and / or proximity of the operations to the main runway. Because of these operational restrictions, certain construction activities would have to occur when the night time noise curfew is in place. During this curfew period, ambient noise levels from the airport and other sources of noise will be at their lowest and any night time works may have the potential to increase the likelihood of disturbance to residents near the airport.

Many of the construction activities would produce noise of a magnitude lower than airport noise during airport operating hours. However, during the night time curfew period of 0100h-0600h when the airport is closed for scheduled aircraft movements during which certain activities will be undertaken due to operational restrictions, construction noise would be significant without appropriate management and operational controls. The principle contractor will be required to prepare and operate under a Construction Noise and Vibration Management Plan and a Construction Environment Management Plan, which will include predictions of construction noise and identifying necessary mitigation measures…

There’s much more for the locals, and the contractors, to worry about, if the proposal gets resource consent and if the airport succeeds in finding the money.

There are 4 main (inter-related) constraints associated with the project:

Building the project at an operating airport …which is located in a fairly densely developed urban/suburban environment.

The weather and sea conditions in Lyall Bay.

The logistics associated with moving and placing a large quantity of bulk material.

The use of specialist plant to facilitate the reclamation works

There’ll be worries for pilots too.

The Obstacle Limitation Surface is one of the most significant constraints for the project. The OLS defines the surfaces in the airspace above and adjacent to the airport. The OLS is necessary to enable aircraft to maintain a satisfactory level of safety while manoeuvring at low altitude in the vicinity of the runway. These surfaces should be free of obstacles and are subject to controls such as the establishment of zones, where the erection of buildings, masts, and so on, that may penetrate the OLS are prohibited. These restrictions also apply to temporary structures such as construction works, e.g. use of cranes, towers etc.

And finally, the report helpfully defines “noise,” thereby forewarning the airport’s neighbours of what could be in store for them.

Excessive noise can interfere with speech communication; it can interrupt a wide range of different types of work, particularly activities requiring sustained concentration; it can disturb rest and relaxation; and depending on the hours of operations it can disrupt normal patterns of sleep. Continuous high noise levels for extended periods of time can contribute to noise induced hearing loss, whilst at the generally lower sound levels typically found outside houses, residents often report varying degrees of annoyance. The World Health Organisation (WHO)defines noise annoyance as ‘a feeling of displeasure evoked by a noise’

But worse than the noise, think of all those trucks – one every sixty seconds.

Airport house miramar

A home is moved from Bridge St, Miramar, as the airport removes properties in its noise zone.

Houses in Bridge St are starting to disappear as Wellington Airport forges ahead with plans to remove 44 homes near its runway.

One house had already been removed from the area in Rongotai and another was ”jacked up” on trailers, ready to be taken away.

About nine houses along the street were now vacant and many more families were in the process of packing up.

”It’s sad that all our old neighbours have left,” said Bridge St resident Heather Courtney. “I lost a really good friend a couple of doors down.”

In May, Wellington Airport announced plans to either demolish or sound-proof about 700 houses around it to mitigate future airport noise.

The airport is allowed to emit up to 65 decibels, on average, over a 90-day period at its air noise boundary.

It currently emits an average of about 61dB, but an independent study identified 44 houses in Bridge St where noise could exceed 75dB on average.

The airport already owned half of those houses and gave its tenants six months to move out. It will extend an offer to purchase the remaining houses at fair valuation.

Mrs Courtney, who will have to sell her house to the airport, said it was sad watching her street slowly wither away.

”You wouldn’t get another street like this in Wellington because it’s so wide and we’re just so close to everything,” she said.

”That’s the problem we’re finding as we look for other places, we’re going to be so far away from our beach and our shops and our library and our pool.”

”It’ll be hard finding somewhere where we can settle for the next six years before we retire. It’s a little bit stressful but we have to accept it and move on.”

A 65dB sound is the level of normal conversation from a metre away. A rise of 10dB sounds twice as loud.

Heather Courtney

FORCED TO SELL: Bridge Street resident Heather Courtney.


The Wellington Airport noise zone.

Heather Courtney says her retirement plans were thrown into disarray by a letter in her mail box this week.

The Bridge St resident is one of 22 home owners on the edge of Wellington Airport’s runway who were told the airport would offer to buy their homes because it could not mitigate noise to an acceptable level.

Mrs Courtney and her husband Phil have lived in Bridge St since 1981 and have spent more than $50,000 renovating their house as a retirement nest egg. They planned to sell up in another seven years or so and retire to Nelson.

They were aware the airport would eventually table an offer to buy their house before 2030, as foreshadowed in its master plan. But the couple figured they had another 15 years or so up their sleeve.

And while that may still be the case, Mrs Courtney says the news this week that 22 houses around hers will begin disappearing as soon as next month, means she and handful of others will soon be living in a “wasteland”.

That would decrease the visual appeal and safety of the street – as well as the value of her house – making it difficult to stay long-term, she said.

“I’m like a lot of people around here. We all thought we had until 2030 before the houses started going. I was talking to my neighbour yesterday who said the same thing. He’s just put a new roof on his house.

“We probably still do, but the airport is making it very difficult to keep living here. We’ll have to find somewhere new to live and I don’t want another mortgage. I want to save for my retirement. I’m quite stressed out at the moment.”

The airport announced on Thursday that up to 700 homes surrounding it have been identified for treatment to mitigate airport noise to an acceptable level of 65 decibels.

The study also identified 44 properties on Bridge St where window seals, ventilation systems and noise insulation would not be effective. The airport owns half of those properties and has given its tenants six months to move out.

The rest will be approached by the airport with an offer to buy their house at fair value.

Chief operating officer John Howarth said he understood the stress residents were feeling, but said no-one would be forced out.

“Property owners on the eastern side of Bridge St have been included as part of the airport’s fair value purchase programme for at least a decade and do not need to move if they wish to stay.

“We understand this very difficult for all residents and will ensure that the areas where dwellings are removed are converted into nicely grassed areas.”

Related stories:

Airport to remove homes in noise zone

Family matters to tenants ousted from airport