Up and away: Waste wings its way off cliffs

Demolition waste being moved in helicopter

Last updated 05:00 05/08/2014
JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/The Press

Demolition experts grapple with removing debris from a Whitewash Head house.

helicopter
JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/FAIRFAX NZ
BAG IT UP: A two-tonne bag is removed by helicopter.

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More than 100 tonnes of building waste are being airlifted off the Port Hills as part of Christchurch's first helicopter-assisted demolition.

The four to five-week project,  by Southern Response and Arrow, involves accessing a property perched 70 metres above sea level on the Sumner cliffs.

Two-tonne bags of demolition waste are dropped at a landing zone on Anzac Drive and taken by road to Burwood Recovery Park. 

Each helicopter trip takes about eight minutes.

Tom Newton, demolition leader for the Southern Response Earthquake Recovery Project, said the Whitewash Head Rd property was severely damaged in the June 2011 earthquake and deemed uneconomic to repair late last year.

Determining the safest, most efficient and cost-effective method for the demolition had been "gruelling", he said.

The property had "major access issues" because part of the road had been washed away.

"We initially ruled out helicopter involvement due to the apparent cost involved but when it became clear that traditional approaches would simply not work on this site we went back to the heli-operators and negotiated a way forward."

Other options considered included cutting a 30-metre track from the road to the property, but the terrain was too steep.

Moving the debris out by hand was ruled out because the labour requirement was "phenomenal" and worker safety could not be guaranteed.

Newton said commuters could expect some delays on Whitewash Head Rd and sections of Flowers Track during helicopter operations.

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- The Press

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