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Shotover River slip finally falls

Media Release from Queenstown Rafting
Friday August 22

Shotover River slip finally falls

A large slip above the Shotover River, which has closed the river to commercial operators for six weeks, has finally fallen.

Queenstown Rafting managing director Vance Boyd said about 30,000 tonnes of rock fell down the face of the slip in the early hours of this morning (Friday Aug 22).

Work began on August 14 to ‘water jack’ the slip by pumping water through and over the slip at the rate of up to 200 litres a minute, with the help of contractors McNeill Drilling and Pumping and the Queenstown Volunteer Fire Brigade.

“We were unable to work on the slip on Wednesday because cold temperatures meant the pipes froze, but since then have been pouring water over the slip day and night,” Mr Boyd said.

“Yesterday afternoon (Thursday) we noticed more new movement in the slip and further fracturing, then this morning a local resident heard a loud noise at about 6.30am.

“Inspection this morning revealed that the majority of the remaining block of rock has fallen, around 30,000 tonnes of it. The material has fallen into the chute below the active face and broken up, and only one or two rocks have reached the edge of the river, making no change to the route or flow of the water.

“The heavy rain falling in the early hours of this morning obviously helped, but we know that all the hard work of our contractors and the volunteer firefighters, on the advice of engineering and geological company Tonkin Taylor, has finally helped do the job we believed it would.

“The outcome’s been a great example of the community working together, with the Queenstown Lakes District Council acknowledging the affect the closure of the river was having on the tourism community, and volunteers from the fire brigade getting up there and helping out.”

Mr Boyd said firefighters would continue to run water over the slip over the weekend, to hose down any remaining small pieces of material, and the rock face would receive a full engineering assessment on Monday.

“We’re very hopeful that the council will be able to lift the closure of the river some time next week.”


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