Road repairs could cost $50,000

The cost of damage to Queenstown's roading network caused during last month's gale-force winds could be as much as $50,000.

Among the damage was a street light knocked over by an airborne trampoline in Redfern Tce, and safety guardrails and bridge approaches hit by falling trees.

The figure was presented to the Queenstown Lakes District Council's infrastructure services committee meeting yesterday morning by network operations manager Michael Wardill.

He said the Labour Day winds, which brought down power lines and trees and tore off roofs, caused the most damage around the Arthurs Point area where several trees fell.

A lot of work had been required where the occupants of one car managed to escape safely after a tree fell on it while it was being driven across the Edith Cavell Bridge, he said.

"We had subcontractors dealing with the aftermath... and working on the clean-up of the trees in the Arthurs Point area for about a week afterwards."

"The course of the operations required arborists and traffic management to ensure that it was all carried out safely."

In the report he estimated the roading network damage cost would be between $45,000 and $50,000.

Mr Wardill said the New Zealand Transport Agency had been advised of the event and, as with this year's record snow events, the council was seeking "emergency reinstatement" funding to cover the cost of repairs.

The balance would be sourced from underspending in the transport budget.

With only two years in the role, Mr Wardill did not have much with which to compare this spring's winds but expected the violent event was "definitely not a yearly occurrence".

Since the gales, the council has been working towards a "preventive management" programme of tree felling on private land bordering the district's roads, which will start in the new year.

Queenstown man Russell Liggett was killed in 2009 when a tree fell in high winds and crushed the cab of his ute in Lower Shotover Rd.

Earlier this month, a crane was toppled during the removal of condemned trees at Speargrass Flat Rd, trapping and injuring the crane operator.

The removal works were being carried out privately.


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