Sections of Summit Rd to reopen to walkers

NICOLE MATHEWSON
Last updated 05:00 26/06/2014
DANIEL TOBIN/Fairfax NZ

Men dislodge rocks above the Summit Road below the Gondola building.

rockfall
DEAN KOZANIC/Fairfax NZ
ROCKY ROAD: Christchurch City Council workers blast hazardous rocks from above Summit Rd.

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Part of Christchurch's scenic Summit Rd will reopen to walkers and bikers within weeks as work to reduce the risk of falling rocks progresses.

Christchurch City Council contractors were this week removing more hazardous rocks in the Mt Cavendish Scenic Reserve above Summit Rd. 

About 7 km of the roadway  was still closed be-cause of the  rockfall risk after the February 2011 earthquake. Council transport and greenspace manager John Mackie said blasting work at Mt Cavendish was part of the council's wider programme of geotechnical work in the Port Hills.

The programme aimed to make key routes accessible and safe again following Canterbury's earthquakes.

''We have undergone a full geotechnical assessment of this site to identified the rockfall hazards in this area,'' Mackie said.

 ''A geotechnical plan was developed to remove the rocks in a controlled manner which involved blasting.''

The assessment included analysing where rocks would travel and stop if they rolled down the slope. 

The information was then used to decide what roads and tracks needed to be closed while the work was carried out.

Dislodged rocks which landed on Summit Rd during blasting would be removed when the ''rock deconstruction'' work above the road was finished, Mackie said.The section of Summit Rd between Rapaki Track and the Bridle Path Track was expected to reopen to recreational users next month, but the road would remain closed between Bridle Path and Mt Pleasant.

Mackie said the risk of rockfall in that area was still significant and major repairs were needed on the roading network. 

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- The Press

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