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World-leading avalanche system in global award



4 June 2008

World-leading avalanche control system entered in global award

Transit New Zealand’s world-leading avalanche control programme for State Highway 94 Milford Road has been entered for a major international award, the International Road Federation Global Achievement Awards.

The programme, now in its 25th year, is internationally recognised as a leader in its field and is run for Transit by contractor Downer Edi Works, whose key people with the programme, Wayne and Ann Carran, earlier this week received Queen’s Service Medals for their services to conservation.

The award will be judged in the United States and the recipients will be named on or before July this year. The recipients will choose where the award is to be presented to give maximum exposure to the winning project.

“The timing of the Queen’s Birthday honour couldn’t be better as the success of the avalanche programme depends on a team of people and we will be able to share it with them and the community at the 25th anniversary celebrations in Te Anau next week,” Mrs Carran said.

“Thursday 12 June will be a special occasion with the Minister of Transport Annette King and Transit chairman Bryan Jackson coming to unveil a plaque commemorating the programme’s 25 years.”

Transit New Zealand chief executive Rick van Barneveld acknowledged the pivotal roles played by Mr Carran, the avalanche control programme manager, and wife Ann in the programme’s development.

“The Queen’s Service Medals for services to conservation that Wayne and Ann have received are clearly deserved and we congratulate them wholeheartedly,” he said.

The development of the avalanche programme was driven by Mr Carran’s determination to prevent further loss of life after friend and fellow road worker Robert “Pop” Andrew was killed on the road by an avalanche in 1983. Mr Andrew was the fourth road worker to die since work started on the road in the 1930s.

Mr van Barneveld said, “Since the programme’s inception in 1983, there have been no injuries as a result of avalanches on this state highway that is the only land link to New Zealand’s top tourist destination, Milford Sound, The road is now open nearly all year, playing a major role in keeping the Fiordland economy buoyant.

“The programme has evolved into an internationally recognised system of equipment and processes to assess and control avalanche risk, much of it developed from Kiwi ingenuity to deal with the unique topography of the mountainous Milford Road environment.”

Transit has recently entered into a new contract with Downer EDi Works which has a key focus on developing new people with the necessary skills to manage this programme – and perhaps others world-wide. It will ensure this major risk-management process is sustainable into the future.

Transit and its associates in avalanche control, consultants Opus Invercargill and Downer EDi Works are inviting the Fiordland community to attend the unveiling of a commemorative plaque by the Minister at 10.45am on Thursday 12 June at the Distinction Te Anau Hotel on the lakefront.


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