25 Jun 2013

Plea for motorists to be patient

5:35 pm on 25 June 2013

The New Zealand Transport Agency is urging motorists in the Wellington region to be patient after a severe storm damaged rail links to the capital.

Traffic was at a crawl on the motorway's north-bound lanes on Tuesday evening.

Traffic was at a crawl on the motorway's north-bound lanes on Tuesday evening. Photo: RNZ

The storm last Thursday night caused thousands of power outages and serious damage to train lines which has affected public transport and seen heavy congestion on roads.

KiwiRail said the problems could take all week to fix and 1400 cubic metres of fill is being used to rebuild tracks in Wellington. Some lines are closed, while others have been disrupted.

Chief executive Jim Quinn said on Tuesday that work is progressing well, with tracks now back in place and being levelled. The restoration of signaling and traction would need to take place before a full service can resume.

The New Zealand Transport Agency said people should consider changing their travel times by leaving work early, staying in town later or car pooling to avoid making peak hour congestion worse.

Trains are running between Upper Hutt and Petone, but services between Petone and Wellington have been replaced by buses.

KiwiRail says the Kaitaki ferry, which was damaged during the storm, is expected to resume sailings from Wellington on Wednesday afternoon.

500 still without power

Lines company Wellington Electricity said it is working hard to restore power to those 500 properties still affected and people should be contacted by staff on Tuesday with an update as to when this may happen.

Chief executive Greg Skelton said five crews from the Marlborough region arrived on Tuesday, adding to 120 reinforcements who have come from throughout to help.