Skippers slip repairs fast-tracked

20:09, Oct 09 2012

Repairs to a section of the historic Skippers Rd which slipped into the Shotover River last month are on schedule and the road should open again at Labour Weekend.

Contractors have been working seven days a week during daylight hours to cut a new track into rock face after a five-metre section of the road at Devil's Elbow, about 18 kilometres from Coronet Peak Rd, slipped about 80 metres into the river.

"It's gone very well . . . we have been working non-stop through daylight hours," Queenstown Lakes District Council network operations manager Mike Wardill said.

The weather had been favourable, allowing contractors to continue engineering work, he said.

"We are very confident the works will be completed on time . . . there will be a partial improvement in the area and following the works, we will be grading the road and doing our seasonal water tabling and maintenance."

However, even with the slight improvement, it was important to remind people that Skippers was no ordinary road and was not suitable for two-wheel-drive vehicles or campervans, which had been seen trying to navigate the road in the past, he said.

"It needs a bit of awareness . . . occasionally we do have that sort of thing happen."

All traffic was initially prevented from using the road but a temporary bypass was created over steep terrain to give residents and tourist operators access in and out of the canyon up to three times a day.

The repair work will not affect any stacked stone walls in the area.

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The Southland Times