Rock cleared, road reopened

Glenorchy will get back to business today after a massive fall of between 1500 and 2000 tonnes of rock was cleared and the only road from Queenstown to the township was reopened at the weekend.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council announced the Glenorchy-Queenstown Rd was reopened yesterday at 2.30pm, after geotechnical engineers assessed the rock fall site at ground level and by helicopter and tested its stability.

The road was opened briefly to traffic on Saturday, at 6pm, then closed again yesterday from 9am to noon, for testing.

A revised estimate of up to 2000 tonnes of rock fell on the winding stretch of road known as the Narrows and down the embankment to the waterline of Lake Wakatipu, on Friday, at about 8.15am.

About 15 council staff and contractors used two 20-tonne excavators to remove debris from the road on Friday and Saturday morning.

Council communications officer Rebecca Pitts yesterday said the cost of removal was estimated at $20,000-$30,000.

Repairing the road would be extra.

"The road is extensively pot-holed and will take approximately two weeks to be restored to its previous standard.

Repairs are also required to restore the road barriers."

Ms Pitts said the debris took its "natural course" over the bank.

"There would have been substantial cost and delays involved in removing debris by truck."

Free public transport between Queenstown and Glenorchy across Lake Wakatipu was provided by the council using Queenstown Water Taxis.

A plan to use the Real Journeys 80-seat cruise boat Fiordlander 1 to ferry supplies from the resort to the township was dropped on Saturday when the road was cleared earlier than expected.

 

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