Crown Range Road to remain closed for a second night
The Crown Range Road between Queenstown and Wanaka will remain closed overnight tonight (Thursday, 22 February) and into tomorrow morning due to the continuing danger posed by a boulder on the Queenstown side made unstable by yesterday’s heavy rain.
Residents of Crown Terrace still have access as far as Eastbourne Road. Residents of Cardrona and visitors still have access from Wanaka as far as Cardrona township.
Anyone wishing to travel between Queenstown and Wanaka should take State Highway 6 via Cromwell and allow more time for their journey due to ongoing roadworks in the Kawarau Gorge.
Andrew Edgar, Senior Engineer – Property and Infrastructure at Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC), said a helicopter sluicing operation today did not move the rock but did confirm its potential danger.
“This boulder is sitting on a ‘house of cards’. Not only does it look like it could move at any time but it’s also highly likely to come down if any of the rocks below it move. Given its size, shape and the angle it’s perched on it could easily roll down onto the road with enough force to crush a car,” said Mr Edgar.
“To finish the job and make the road safe, we have arranged for a rock explosive expert and rope access professional to set charges tomorrow morning that will dislodge the boulder and break it up.”
Once the rock is moved, debris will be removed from the road allowing it to be reopened.
Council contractors closed the road yesterday afternoon at the junction of Crown Range Road and State Highway 6 near Arrowtown (the bottom of the switchbacks leading up to Crown Terrace), and also at Cardrona township south of Wanaka.