Bypass created after slip
Contractors working to cut a new track into rock face on the Skippers Rd after a massive slip have created a temporary bypass to allow restricted access.
Access into the historic Skippers Canyon settlement beyond ‘‘Devil’s Elbow’’, 18km from Coronet Peak Rd, has been blocked since a five metre section of the road slipped into the Shotover River 80m below last week.
Queenstown Lakes District Council transport manager Denis Mander said contractors started working on the slip immediately and had created a temporary bypass over very steep terrain around the slip to allow operators past.
The detour would be open up to three times a day but was only suitable for high-axle four-wheel-drive vehicles with off road tyres fitted, Mr Mander said.
‘‘It’s certainly better than nothing. There are some vehicles I see using the Skippers Rd that I would not want to see using the bypass,’’ he said.
Contractors would have to stop work at the site while the detour was open so access would be limited, he said.
“This bypass was checked and signed off by our engineer yesterday but access will need to be restricted to tourist operators and residents only,” Mr Mander said.
The Otago Regional Council and Historic Places Trust have approved the council’s proposal to cut the new track and get the road open as soon as possible.
‘‘We’re basically working as fast as we can. It’s a big job.’’
Material was a lot softer than anticipated making the job a bit easier, but Mr Mander was reluctant to say they would complete the job ahead of schedule just yet.
The job is expected to take four to five weeks.
Skippers Canyon Jet co-owner Ben Hohneck said they planned to use the new detour to operate a daily afternoon trip but would continue offering customers the helicopter and jetboat combo they introduced after the road closed.
The repair work will not impact on any stacked stone walls along the historic road.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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