Wellington is 'good to go'
Mon, 19 Aug 2013 13:42
We will continue to monitor the situation
Wellington's Westpac Stadium has been cleared by engineers to host Saturday's Rugby Championships Test between New Zealand and Australia, after suffering minor damage in a 6.6 magnitude earthquake.
Engineers have completed a full inspection of the 34,500-seat stadium that has been closed since the severe quake struck New Zealand's upper South Island and lower North Island last Friday.
The second major quake to hit Wellington in recent weeks was followed by a series of heavy aftershocks.
Stadium Chief Executive Shane Harmon said Monday's inspection had found some chipped concrete and broken glass but no structural damage.
Harmon said the expected capacity crowd for Saturday's match could be assured the stadium "is structurally sound."
"It's great news we can host a sell-out crowd in a safe stadium as planned," New Zealand Rugby Union Chief Executive Steve Tew.
"Public safety is of paramount importance to us so it was essential we received reassurances from engineers before continuing with our planning.
"Obviously this has been an unsettling time for fans and we fully support Westpac Stadium's prudent response to Friday's earthquake to close the facility pending checks."
Harmon said public safety was the stadium's top priority.
"We followed the same process as we did for the recent July earthquake. We will always take a conservative approach in the event of a major earthquake.
"We can assure ticket-holders that the stadium is structurally sound and that there is no greater level of risk than existed before the recent earthquakes. Our engineers have said that the building has performed as expected".
The stadium had incurred similar minor damage as it did in the July earthquake, such as chipped concrete and broken glassware. Harmon said that all repairs would be carried out quickly and well in advance of Saturday's big match.
Steve Tew said the NZRU planned for a range of contingencies as is normal for any major event it is responsible for.
"We will continue to monitor the situation, but our focus now is on ensuring the stage is set for a fantastic Test match."
Saturday's match will be played in front of the largest Test crowd in Wellington in recent years with 38,000 fans expected to attend the sold-out match.
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