Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Weeks 4-7: The February 22nd 2011 M6.3 earthquake and the start of the repair of the Christchurch distribution network.


This post covers the week of the Christchurch Magnitude 6.3 earthquake and following to Friday the 18th March, the Memorial day.

Work log:

Monday 21st: Worked with Reece at Nunweek park hockey park terminating 11kV XLPE into a kiosk.

Tuesday 22nd: Attempted to finish the kiosk with Reece. Job abandoned for technical reasons. Mag 6.3 Quake hit at 12:51pm.

Wednesday 23rd February - Monday 7th March - No work - Quake recovery.

Monday 7th: Averill St 11kV quake damaged PILCA-XLPE -PILCA repair with Steve.

The post-22 Feb quake 'job desk' at Connetics

Connetics and associated supply industry workers at a promotional BBQ breakfast

My first quake casualty-11kV previously joined cable in sewer-filled hole.. nice.
Faulty quake-bent 11kV PILCA cable, River Road.
Steve jointing 11kV Averill St with the hard case boys from Transfield, T and Peachy.

Tuesday 8th: Palmers Road 11kV severe quake damaged PILCA-XLPE-PILCA-XLPE-PILCA with Steve

The cable testing trailer display.. gives estimates in meters how far along the cable is faulting. Flash piece of machinery.
Steve the test tech placing clamps on the cable under test

Quake-kinked PILCA 11kV cable

My XLPE 'half a joint' with Steve!

Wednesday 9th: Palmers Road same as previous day

The locals are fed up.

3x quake-kinked 11kV cables. The final solution was to abandon multiple joins and run a new cable.
Thursday 10th: Gayhurst Road 11kV PILCA-XLPE-PILCA with Steve

Friday 11th: Bridge Street and Estuary Road 2x joins 11kV PILCA-XLPE-PILCA with Steve

Bridge St 11kV from Bromley Substation. Note riverbank 'slumping' above Steve (which caused the fault), who is using his nice new sabresaw to cut..!
The New Brighton Substation 33kV transformers and control building that sank 2m due to liquefaction.

The Pleasant Point yacht club slumping damage

The Bridge St bridge slumping damage. We received a visit from structural engineers.
Monday 14th: Inverness St 400V Neutral screen T repairs with Steve and Robbie

Tuesday 15th: Landsdowne Terrace 400V boundary box and neutral screen repairs with Steve and Robbie and the 'Northland boys'.

Boundary box safety tagged by the 'test room' team.

The damage to the road, which caused the damage to the cables. We measured the fissure depth at 2.4 metres.

Wednesday 16th: Santa Rosa Avenue, Mt Pleasant 400V quake damaged Tees.

The boys in the Tee hole while demolition men remove the adjacent house's chimney.
Tee under preparation
Finished Tee with 'quake strain loop'.
A typical example of a Mt. Pleasant house. They got a hiding.
Marine Parade red-stickered house. Sickening.

Thursdsay 17th: Cnr Pages Rd and Anzac Dr 11kV PILCA-XLPE-PILCA quake fault repair

The quake-damaged PILCA (Note steel and lead armoured) cable. The trunking in the broken concrete behind houses the faulty 66kV cable that was replaced by an overhead line is super-record time. 

Robbie with the finished product.
Friday 18th: Quake memorial day.

Personal statement

Firstly, I'd like to express my absolute sorrow for all of the victims of the Christchurch aftershock earthquake that struck at 12:51pm on 22nd February 2011. I refer to the victims as 'the unlucky ones', the reason being I believe it was pure luck that determined who died or who survived the earthquake. My wife Emma and I were just leaving a car park on Bedford row just around the corner from the CTV building when the quake struck. I believe I now truly know the meaning of terrifying. We were extremely lucky that we were in the shadow of the newly constructed IRD building, which had been built extremely sturdily and protected us.

The sights we witnessed on our flight out of the city centre will live with me forever. Our house received further foundation damage. Luckily the structure seems intact. In the two weeks following the quake we had no power for a week, and no water or sewer for 3 days. We did volunteering work in the community to help people out (as you do). I was extremely humbled by how New Zealand and the World came to our rescue, and how the community rallied to help each other, even in our wee street.

I was going to do an analysis of heatshrink vs. cold shrink, among other individual items these weeks, but instead I would like to pay tribute to the heroes I am having the extreme privilege of working with.

Starting at the top, the management and administration staff of Connetics have shown fantastic resilience, and superb organisational ability to coordinate the reconnection of power in our broken city so rapidly. Employees and visiting employees from Vector, Transfield, and several other power supply companies have been given motivational talks, BBQ breakfasts, psychology talks, and even stand-up comedy! These examples of exceptional leadership, combined with site visits of the repairs being done, have led me to make the comments I have. I have been watching in awe of the performance.

The 'coalface' workers simply keep going. Quality and unwavering performance in the face of the biggest natural disaster to strike this country has been the hallmark of these workers. Yes, they are paid to do the job, but many carried on working with broken homes that had no water, power or sewer.

All of this is combined with nightly 'wake-up call' aftershocks, which get the adrenalin going and makes getting back to sleep difficult, radical future earthquake predictions from inconsiderate attention-seekers, scumbag looters, and the ever-present threat of the Alpine fault or more unknown quake sources make for difficult living, let alone working.

I salute all power workers, all Governmental workers, USAR legends, Police (Kiwi and Aussie), core infrastructure workers, health workers, engineers, student army members, Red Cross, everybody who cared and donated, and finally, the awesome Christchurch people.

Rise up, Christchurch.


selena said...

Hi Andrew,

great post :) and YES!! I join you in thanking ALL the unsung heroes out there who go about their work each and everyday, doing the important job of getting the Christchurch infrastructure up and running again.

Kia kaha, Selena

Fi from Four Paws and Whiskers said...

It seems no time since you stopped at Cafe x and told our vet nursing team what you were upmto and we admired your fetching overalls... Never imagined the experiences you were about to get.
Great post and although ChCh is battered, it is amazing that we have regained many basic services so fast when you think of the scale of the repairs.
The response of the rest of the country, and the world, has been humbling.
I feel guilty now at causing so much trouble for them all... And expense!
Cheers Fiona

Andrew said...

Thanks both you guys! It is humbling how the country and world leapt to our aid. And we didn't cause it, Fiona! Although who would build a city on a swamp next to an extinct volcano?!!!