Quake-rocked AMI Stadium could be repaired for $45 million, according to latest engineering reports, which will "sink'' ambitious plans for a $500m covered sports stadium in Christchurch.
International geotechnical engineering experts have scoured the two concrete grandstands that were damaged by the September 2010 and February 2011 earthquakes, and have found they can be cheaply fixed.
There were initial thoughts the stadium would be scrapped which has led to plans for a half billion dollar covered stadium on the old Turners & Growers site in Tuam St - one of the lynchpins of the central city rebuild.
But the latest engineering reports show AMI could be returned to its pre-quake specifications for much less than its $135m insurance tag - an option insurers may want.
But the city council which owns the ground was yesterday in the dark over the move, as was the Canterbury Rugby Football Union who have been pushing hard for a new world-class covered stadium.
CRFU chief executive Hamish Riach said that if AMI Stadium was rebuilt, plans for a stadium with a roof to protect the pitch and spectators from the elements would be shelved.
A covered 35,000-seat stadium in Tuam St was included in the Christchurch Central Development Unit central city recovery blueprint announced, with much fanfare in July. Before the blueprint announcement the city council had earlier this year aired a preference for a smaller, cheaper uncovered stadium.
The city council's insurance policy states that a repair or rebuild must be done to the exact standards AMI Stadium was before the quakes.
But it looks likely that the city council will come under pressure to accept a plan by its insurers, local government-owned Civic Assurance, to repair the existing dual-purpose ground.
``We've had it reviewed . . . some external engineers have gone through it and we're of the view that it can be repaired well within the sum it's insured for,'' said Civic Assurance chief executive Tim Sole yesterday.
``The grounds looks terrible, but you have to ignore that. The bulk of the stadium looks fine and you need someone to tell you it's not quite at the same level it was before.''
The city council was yet to be told of the ``repair methodology'', Mr Sole said.
Engineers for the city council will now discuss the technical aspects of the repair plan with the insurer's engineers.
Mr Riach said if AMI Stadium was repaired it would ``sink'' plans for a covered stadium.
Mr Riach said if the covered stadium plans were dumped, the CRFU would ``have to live with it.''