Flood-damaged tracks could need re-routing

Several Dunedin walking tracks damaged during June's floods are still closed and some may need re-routing as the weather event's downstream effects continue to be felt.

The rainfall caused slips and scouring along a number of the city's walking tracks.

While some of those damaged tracks had been repaired and reopened, for many the damage had been ''severe'', Dunedin City Council parks, recreation and aquatics group manager Richard Saunders said this week.

Winter weather meant it was normal to see some damage on the city's large network of walking tracks, but ''the extent of damage has been far greater this year due to the floods''.

The nine tracks still closed were ''not considered safe for public access'', he said.

They included:

• Frasers Gully, closed because of slips, severe along the track's upper section.

• Bullock Track, Prospect to Willowbank section, closed as its entire lower end had fallen on to the road.

• Kaikorai Esplanade, where sections of track had been scoured away by floodwaters.

Slips were the main form of damage, though where tracks were sited beside waterways scouring had occurred, Mr Saunders said.

''In a normal winter, we would expect some damage and track closures but not to the extent and in the number of locations we have experienced this year.''

The council was seeking engineering advice on the closed tracks and was working towards getting all of them reopened, but it was possible some of the more heavily damaged tracks, including Frasers Gully, would need to be re-routed, he said.

''We're starting to look at what alternatives there might be to that.''

Timeframes for repair or re-routing work were not yet available, but the council would ''work as quickly as possible to get tracks reopened in time for summer, focusing on those tracks that have the highest use,'' Mr Saunders said.

craig.borley@odt.co.nz

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