Monday, July 15, 2024

COVID delays Christchurch infrastructure projects

Christchurch residents are being warned to expect delays in the delivery of infrastructure projects around the city due to staffing shortages related to COVID-19.

“Many of the contractors that we have working on our transport improvement projects and our three waters infrastructure upgrades have high numbers of staff sick or isolating as COVID-19 cases peak in Canterbury,’’ says Council General Manager Infrastructure, Planning and Regulatory Services, Jane Davis.

“Council staff have been working closely with these contractors to help keep projects on track but delivery timeframes for some projects are going to be impacted by these staffing issues.

“The problem is that it is not just our contractors who are short staffed; it is their suppliers too, so even getting equipment and materials on site is proving difficult in some cases. These issues have a compounding effect and will inevitably lead to delays in the completion times for some of our projects,’’ Ms Davis says.

One of Council’s contractors, Fulton Hogan, who are involved in a number of transport projects around the city, are starting to see the effects of staff isolation and illness on their operational resource so the decision has been made to temporarily pause operations at some of its work sites, she said.

As a result, work on the city’s High Street upgrade and the final section of the Coastal Pathway will be prioritised.

It will delay some of the planned work on the South Express and Rapanui to Shag Rock major cycle routes until more staff are able to work, Ms Davis said.

“We are working with Fulton Hogan and our other contractors to try and keep project delays to a minimum but people should be aware that some projects may take longer to complete than originally timetabled,’’ she said.

“Unfortunately this means that people may have to put up with road works outside their homes or businesses for a little longer than expected. We know this may be frustrating, but our contractors have to put the health and safety of their staff first as we go through this wave of Omicron cases.

“Our contractors are working hard with us to minimise the impact of any project delays on our communities.”

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