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Drilling at Kawarau Falls

Transit New Zealand Dunedin Office

Drilling at Kawarau Falls

Drilling down to find out what lies beneath is an essential step in arriving at a decision on a twolane bridge on State highway 6 at Kawarau Falls near Queenstown.

The design of a possible replacement bridge relies on good information on the geology and the strength of the rock upon which the foundations will rely. Drilling and the extraction of core samples will take place not only from a barge moored in the river, but also on the shore and on rock outcrops in the river.

Transit New Zealand acting regional manager Bruce Richards says the section of the Kawarau River immediately below the Kawarau Falls Dam will be closed to the public while drilling takes place. This is because the drilling barge will be moored in the river with steel guy ropes that will be a serious safety hazard. The contractor's support craft will operate on the river to ensure safety and to provision the drilling crews.

The drilling operation is planned to begin on Monday 9 June 2008 and is expected to take up to five weeks.

The closure of the river will be managed by Marty Black, Harbour Master for Queenstown Lakes District Council, who will enforce the temporary restriction on public use of the river. Bruce says that although the new bridge option has been endorsed by the Regional Land Transport Committee for Regional Funding it must still go through a rigorous process to ensure public money is being spent wisely.

"Once a preferred option for the two-lane bridge has been approved there is still a lot of work to be done before any construction can start. Transit must apply for consents and a designation under the Resource Management Act and then carry out the detailed design work."

"We will continue to keep the public and interested parties fully informed on progress with the project."


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