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Tracks to re-open after stability assessment near Albert Town completed

Media Release - 12 December 2014

Sections of two walking and cycling tracks along the Clutha River at Albert Town, just upstream of the SH6 bridge, have been reopened today.

The decision was made by the Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) after considering an independent geotechnical report and stability assessment from Geosolve, commissioned by the Otago Regional Council (ORC).

Sections of both tracks had previously been closed to the public because of safety concerns related to land instability.

QLDC Chief Executive Adam Feeley said the report confirmed there was an active landslide in the area where both tracks had been closed. However, the technical advice received was that “If the failure surface is shallow, future movement …. is unlikely to be rapid, and risk to track users and adjacent properties is considered low.” Rapid failure is considered “…unlikely unless triggered by a major flood or earthquake.”

The report also considers that pedestrians and cyclists on the upper and lower tracks were unlikely to have a significant impact on the existing instability.

Mr Feeley said that on the basis of the technical advice received, QLDC considered that it could responsibly reopen the closed sections of both the Clutha River Track and the Terrace Track. Signs would warn track users that the ground was unstable and that they should not linger in the area.

ORC Director Hazards, Engineering and Science, Dr Gavin Palmer said the Geosolve report confirmed that it was right to take a cautious approach and close part of both tracks while the geotechnical assessment was completed.

“In the event that the risk profile changes, such as the river being in flood, part of the tracks may have to be closed as a precaution, or while further assessment is carried out, Dr Palmer said.

GeoSolve will work with ORC to prepare and implement a Christmas/New Year monitoring programme, as well as working to develop a long term monitoring programme. In addition ORC will assess the feasibility and cost of possible preventative measures to avoid erosion damage to nearby bank stability rockwork.

The report is online at www.qldc.govt.nz/leisure-and-culture/parks-and-walkways/.

ORC and QLDC will distribute copies of the report to nearby residents next week. Copies will also be available in ORC offices and on the ORC website.

For more information contact

ORC
Dr Gavin Palmer, Director Engineering, Hazards, and Science
03 474 0827 or 0274 933 960

QLDC
Adam Feeley, Chief Executive
021 333 539

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