Update on Skippers
Media Advisory - Thursday 13 September, 2012
Update on Skippers
The Queenstown Lakes District Council is hoping a proposal to repair the historic Skippers Road slip could re-open the road as early as mid-October, QLDC transport manager Denis Mander said.
The Council advised yesterday that the road was impassable from the area known as ‘Devil’s Elbow’ (approximately 18km from the Coronet Peak Road turn-off) due to 80% of a five-metre section of road having dropped away into the Shotover River.
At a meeting this morning engineers discussed possible options with all parties agreeing to an approach that could resolve the issue in a month to five weeks, weather dependent.
“We are looking at a proposal to cut into rock wall on the inside curve of the slip area to create a road bench and to rock bolt as necessary. We are proposing that works start immediately and that we adopt a seven day working week to bring forward the re-opening date,” Mr Mander said.
The slip affects several tourism operators and a handful of residents, who have all adopted contingency plans to continue living and operating in the Skippers area.
“It is a very unique road in a very unique area, Council recognises there is strong public interest in restoring access, as a priority,” Mr Mander said.
It is proposed that Council undertake the work under the emergency works provision of the Resource Management Act, with material from the excavation to be disposed of into the Shotover River.
“We did explore alternatives such as lowering the road, bridging or completely realigning road but discounted these because of combination of engineering feasibility, cost and time to implement. Both the consultant and contractors advising Council agree the benching proposal is the right approach,” he said.
Although the proposal required consent from the Otago Regional Council, QLDC hoped to receive the Regional Council’s support within the next two days.
The proposal was also being considered by the Historic Places Trust. The area of the proposed ‘cut’ would not affect any historic stacked stone walls.
“In the meantime we are doing everything we can to get works underway with our contractor positioning machinery (digger, drilling and grouting equipment) at the site today,” Mr Mander said. The Council was continuing to work through the cost of the repair but did not have a final figure.