Blasting of bluff will delay trail opening

Blasting to make a rock face safe on the Lake Dunstan cycling and walking trail between Clyde and Cromwell has pushed its opening out by a month.

The trail was scheduled to open at the end of March but additional rock face work was required to complete the last 100m stretch of the trail.

Central Otago Queenstown Trail Network Trust chairman Stephen Jeffery said the delay was to err on the side of caution.

"We will have a few extra weeks delay to complete additional work required on the last remaining 30m of rock face located at Double Duck Bluff.

"So instead of the end of March we are looking at late April."

An exact date will be confirmed as soon as possible.

Building the trail had spanned almost two years, "resulting in a quality asset we can be proud of, which showcases our stunning Central Otago region", Mr Jeffery said.

"It is well worth an additional few weeks to ensure the result is in keeping with the high standard of work to date."

The quality of the track was paramount and it was important not to rush the last stage, he said.

Geotech experts confirmed late last week further blasting was required.

A specialist crew would work over the next couple of weeks to clear the rock face for the track to carve through the last stage safely.

As part of the track work, geosynthetic matting had been laid above the approach to Double Duck Bluff, in order to stabilise this previously identified area of weak rock, he said.

"Loose gravels have the potential to fall, and as part of our resource consent, this geo matting stabilises the earth, allowing vegetation to grow through."

Central Lakes Trust chief executive Susan Finlay said the delay in the trail opening was the best option.

It demonstrated the trust’s commitment to ensuring a quality asset for the region long term.

The trail which links to the Central Otago Rail Trail, had been built to the highest standards set by the New Zealand Cycle Trail design guide.

The Central Otago Queenstown Trail Network Trust was established to build the trail, along with another trail from Cromwell through the Kawarau Gorge to Nevis Bluff, near Queenstown, and then from Cromwell to Wanaka, ultimately creating 122km of trails.

The project has been jointly funded by Central Lakes Trust, Otago Community Trust and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

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