Wellington Scoop

More work needed on collapsed sinkhole; permanent repairs within 6 months

sinkhole 3
Wellington Water photo from RNZ

News from Wellington City Council
Further work is required tonight to fix the sink hole on Jervois Quay.

Last night Wellington Water and its contractors worked through the night to carry out temporary repairs to the sinkhole which has formed under Jervois Quay at the Hunter Street intersection. The sinkhole was caused by a break in a stormwater pipe deep beneath the road which through the ebb and flow of the tide washed away the road base above the pipe.

On engineers’ advice, further work is needed tonight to conduct a CCTV inspection of the damaged pipe and to further shore up the sinkhole to reduce the risk to road users from any further collapse.

When the pipe was exposed last night we found the damage to be more extensive than the sinkhole itself. Tonight, workers will begin shoring work to stabilise the ground and the road around the full extent of the broken pipe.

We expect this work to continue over the next couple of nights, after which the road will be able to be fully re-opened. This will mean continued traffic disruption until that work is complete, and we thank motorists for their patience while this work is undertaken.

It is hoped that two southbound lanes of Jervois Quay will be available for morning rush-hour traffic – however this will confirmed – or otherwise – before 6am tomorrow.

A full repair of the pipe will still need to be carried out. The pipe was due for renewal within the next 10 years and this will now be accelerated to take place within the next six months. We will keep the public informed of when this full repair is likely to take place.

Earlier report from Wellington.Scoop
Wellington Water crews last night carried out a temporary repair to the collapsed stormwater pipe beneath Jervois Quay. The road was fully re-opened for the morning rush hour, though at reduced speed of 30km/h at the repair site.

RNZ reports the pipe fills and empties with the tide and over time a hole in the pipe is thought to have let water gradually erode and wash away the subsoil. Overnight workers placed a temporary cap over the hole in the pipe, filled in the eroded area and sealed the road.

The 450mm diameter earthenware pipe was laid in the early 1900s.

sinkhole 2
RNZ photo

Wellington.Scoop – February 3
A sinkhole above a broken stormwater drain closed two southbound lanes on Jervois Quay this afternoon.

Repair crews from Wellington Water started work to fix the broken main, which is about 2 metres below the road. They said it would take some time to excavate the necessary hole and work will continue tomorrow.

Traffic management closed the left and centre lane on the Quay, as well as the turning lane from Hunter Street. Traffic has been redirected through Victoria Street to help reduce traffic flows passing the site.

The DomPost reports that a dozen workers and a sucker truck have been called to the sinkhole.

At 3.10pm, Wellington Water said: Traffic management is in place and onsite. The crew will commence investigations once the mark up has been completed. At 5.40 it said investigations were continuing.

The city council warned commuters to expect significant delays during tomorrow’s morning rush hour due to the closure of the two southbound lanes. It said Jervois Quay would be down to one southbound lane in the vicinity of Queens Wharf and the Hunter Street intersection.

But at 9.30, Wellington Water reported: We are working through the night on a temporary fix and temporarily backfilling. All going we are looking to open all three lanes of Jervois Quay temporarily during peak hour traffic tomorrow morning. We will make the call at midnight.

The collapse comes a week after an old wastewater main burst at the intersection of Victoria and Mercer Streets, and a water main burst in Aro Street, sending a geyser high in the air.


  1. nemo, 3. February 2021, 14:48

    Nothing quite like a sinkhole into the abyss to slow down the traffic.
    I presume this is part of the grand LGWM plan for greening the Quays?

  2. Groggy, 3. February 2021, 15:40

    You’re assuming LGWM have a plan? You give them far too much credit

  3. Concerned Wellingtonian, 3. February 2021, 18:10

    Definitely one for the City Engineer.

  4. Ray Chung, 3. February 2021, 21:40

    These sinkholes are unfortunately quite common but are also easily preventable. We worked on a project in Japan where a 38 metre deep mains water pipe was leaking over time and caused an eight metre diameter on the surface. These fractures underground are particularly dangerous when close to building foundations. I used to work in Brittanic House on Jervois Quay and if there’s any water around the foundations, they can wash away the substrate around the foundations affecting the integrity of the building. This was the case in Japan. Wellington Water needs to stop trying to play games and waste time distracting the Council by enveigling them into spending time talking about water meters. The trouble is, we have a council which has little understanding of technical issues and just accepts the word of people who are working to different agendas.

  5. Mike Gooch, 4. February 2021, 10:10

    Surely it is now time for the powers that be to accept our water and waste pipe network in and around the city needs major investment. In the event of a large earthquake are we still looking at 30-60 days without supply from Kaitoke dams? Our main supply pipe crosses the faultline several times on its way to the city. What ever happened to the once proposed watermain across the harbour floor from the Hutt aquifer? All we seem to get is excuses. A city without efficient sanitation and potable water is bordering on 3rd world. Is that where we are heading?

  6. Local, 4. February 2021, 13:24

    Georgina: is the man in Mark’s photo having a sleep… a great way to investigate the state of our pipes?
    Is he the only one asleep at the wheel?