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Opening of Chasm Walk delayed

1 October 2012

Opening of Chasm Walk delayed

The opening of the Chasm Walk on the Milford Road has been delayed until early November.

Visitor Assets Programme Manager Annie Wallace says this is due to a delayed start date for the contractors who will be upgrading the bridges on the track. The track upgrading is 90% complete and as soon as the contractors finish upgrading the structures, final improvements to the track surface will be made and the track opened to the public.

Photo by DOC

The Chasm Walk is a popular short walk on the road to Milford Sound. The track has been closed since early July so it can be upgraded to match visitor demands and usage. The track attracts over 400,000 visitors each year.

This winter’s upgrade is a major tidy-up of the structures to bring them up to building code standards and replace the old concrete track surface. Compacted crushed gravel has been used to create a more ‘natural feel’ track surface and steep sections removed to make it more wheel chair friendly. The team have experimented with new water control ideas to better handle the high rainfall of the area. Several new small viewing areas have also been made along the track.


Background information

Donald Sutherland, the original 'Mayor of Milford Sound' took visitors to the Chasm in the 1890s, but the first 'formed track' was constructed after the Milford Road was constructed past this point in around 1936/7.

The track was first built with trunks of punga laid as surface material to keep walkers off the mud.

In the 1960's the National Park Board formed the current concrete track, but other than a few bridges built in 1984, no other major works had been undertaken on the track.

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