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Transport issues in post-volcano Auckland

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 11/04/2017

Auckland's geography could mean up to 435,000 people could be displaced if a volcano erupted within the city, according to a Canterbury University-led study.

A second paper based on a hypothetical two-month-long eruption sequence near Mangere Bridge looks at the impact on the transportation network.

Researchers say the city's difficult geography would limit transport and evacuations routes.

They found that most physical damage to road and rail would happen from the eruption itself, destroying anything within a 0.5km to 2.5km radius.

Their paper, published in the Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, says there would be little impact from earthquakes leading up to the eruption.

Under the scenario, Auckland Airport would not be directly affected by physical damage.

However, restricted access from evacuation zoning and airspace restrictions would force limited domestic and cargo flights to redirect to Whenuapai and Ardmore aerodrome.

After the eruption itself, the researchers say, the most important factors for keeping the transportation network open include cleaning bottleneck areas like bridges of tephra or rock fragments.

Also key will be ensuring electricity supply for the trains, airport and traffic signals, as well as maintaining continued fuel supply.

In March, the first paper based on the scenario looked at how infrastructure would be affected during an eruption in Auckland, which sits on a large volcanic field.

It found that some services could still be provided in the extreme conditions.

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