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Milford Road avalanche programme wins honours

NZ Transport Agency

19 August 2008

Milford Road avalanche programme wins international honours

The New Zealand Transport Agency's world-leading avalanche control programme on State Highway 94 Milford Road has won international kudos as winner of a prestigious roading award.

The International Road Federation (IRF) has just announced the programme as winner of the Maintenance Management Category of its 2008 IRF Global Road Achievement Awards. The selection was made by an independent, international panel of judges with expertise in the road development industry.

The IRF said "your company joins an elite group of winners from around the globe".

The avalanche programme is now in its 25th year and keeps the Milford Road, a vital link between Te Anau and Milford Sound, open and safe through most of the year.

Until the late 1970s the avalanche danger saw the road closed all winter. The avalanche control programme was established in 1983 to predict and manage risk from snow, ice and avalanches more effectively, while allowing year-round operation. Today the programme is one of the key factors in the burgeoning growth of the Fiordland economy and, for each day the road is kept open, it is estimated to potentially add between $200,000 and $600,000 to the economy depending on the time of year.

Transport Agency general manager network operations, Roly Frost, says he is delighted the programme has been internationally recognised. "It's the highway version of an Olympic gold medal."

"It belongs to the people who work on the programme in challenging conditions, and the agency staff for whom this road, the avalanche programme and its success have become a passion over the years."

The programme is run for the NZ Transport Agency by Downer EDi Works, whose key people with the programme, Wayne and Ann Carran, received Queen's Service Medals for their services to conservation in the Queen's Birthday Honours this year.

Three other New Zealand highway projects have previously been honoured by the IRF: the SH12 Waipoua Forest reconstruction project, SH73 Otira Viaduct and Candy's Bend improvements and the SH1 Grafton Gully project all won the IRF Global Achievement Award for environmental mitigation.

For more information about the awards go to the website


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