Cycle trail digger may remain in wild water
An incident that involved a digger working on the Clutha Gold Cycle Trail falling into the Clutha River earlier this month is being investigated by the Labour Department.
The digger, which was parked at the time, fell down a steep bank near Roxburgh after the ground underneath it subsided, submerging it under 10 metres of water.
Department communications adviser Sarah Moffat said the department had begun a preliminary inquiry into the incident but more on the situation would be known next week.
Trail project manager Tim Dennis said no-one was working on the digger when it fell but the incident occurred during business hours and contractors were working in the area.
The section of water where the digger remained was "swift and deep" and down a steep rock bank, Mr Dennis said.
Otago Regional Council environmental services manager Martin King said the council had received complaints about the incident but was fully informed by the company involved at the time.
He declined to name the contractor.
"Trying to get it out [the digger] will be a huge challenge, if at all possible," Mr King said.
Leaving the digger in the river was not a desired option but to protect people's health and safety it may not be possible to remove it, he said.
Mr Dennis said the incident was a timely reminder for people to stay off the construction site until the trail was completed.
The 73km cycle trail from the Roxburgh dam to Lawrence was being built on hazardous terrain that was "highly variable", Mr Dennis said.
Those who went on to the construction site were making the job more difficult for the contractors involved in building the trail, he said. email@example.com
- © Fairfax NZ News
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