Riding the storm – Utility providers show great team work
A pre-planned response and a true team effort meant roads were cleared swiftly after both storms that swept through Hurunui District in the past couple of weeks.
Overnight Thursday, September 17, high winds caused destruction as large trees fell across many roads, making them impassable.
Hurunui District Council’s Roading team, made up of their own staff, main Contractor Sicon Ltd and Topps Contracting, responded immediately to mitigate any dangers posed to the travelling public.
Roading Manager Kushla Tapper said that for safety, impacted roads were closed overnight and the onsite crews continued to monitor them throughout the night, ensuring that warning signage was in place and visible to any approaching traffic.
“The team’s prompt response meant that all roads once cleared were at least partially reopened within 12 hours.”
The team continued to work over the weekend to ensure that roads were cleared, debris removed and fully re-opened.
“Having an established Weather Event Response Plan, which includes response to wind events, meant that all parties were trained for this situation and work was carried out safely.”
There was great community response on Hurunui District Council Facebook page too. Residents kept their community up to date with the status of their local roads, including what work they had completed to reopen roads, before Council’s roading teams could get there.
Throughout the aftermath of the storm, social media and the Council website provided the community with updates.
“Our priority was about keeping the community informed, as roads were once again restored to allow safe access.”
This week’s storm caused some significant snowfalls in and around Hanmer and into the Lewis Pass, as well as gale force winds throughout much of the District.
In preparation for the pending storm, Council deployed seven extra staff in addition to the usual two to be on call, to enable swift ground work and communication around potential sewer and water disruptions.
Alex Makogon, Field Operations Manager – 3 Waters, said generators were ready to be dispatched to locations if required, to keep drinking and waste water services going, should any areas lose power.
“When the forecast shows significant events such as these recent ones, we make sure we have the resources available to enable continuity of service.”