Media release

Albert Town Track hazard update

Friday 5 December 2014

The Otago Regional Council has contracted independent hazard specialists to assess the stability and hazard risk of the Clutha River bank near Albert Town.

Signs of bank erosion and subsidence recently led to the closure of sections of the walking track about 240m upstream of the Albert Town bridge.

ORC director of engineering, hazards, and science Gavin Palmer said the consultants had inspected the slip area, as well as the existing rock rip-rap and adjoining areas, and would complete a stability assessment and report to ORC.

They would also be reviewing all available information from recent investigations and assessments, including concerns raised by local residents and track users, and liaise with the QLDC project engineer and track maintenance contractors regarding recent repairs or planned works.

Mr Palmer said he expected to have their report next week and decisions made as soon as possible once it is received.

“The investigation will provide ORC with a sound basis on which to assess the risk to people using both the tracks, and enable a decision to made on whether or not either or both of them can be reopened,” he said.

Dr Palmer said hazards like this were unpredictable, hence ORC’s decision to err on the side of caution. Both tracks will remain closed until the council has received the assessment and considered the investigators’ recommendations.

“We appreciate and understand how the loss of the tracks is inconvenient for many of the local community, particularly as the holiday season is approaching, when many people want to walk them,” Dr Palmer said.

“We ask people to please bear with us while we deal with this hazard. Public safety is uppermost in our minds. No one – including ORC - wants to see people injured from an accident caused by the track subsiding further.”

The report will be made public when it is received and ORC will issue a further update in a week’s time.

For more information contact

Gavin Palmer
Director engineering, hazards and science
Ph 03 474 0827 or 0274 933 960