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Gravel and rock from the West Coast are in high demand, both for 'exporting' and for $60 million of large infrastructure projects about to get under way throughout the region.
The carrier Anatoki sailed from the Port of Greymouth on the late morning tide yesterday, laden with 800 tonne of greywacke gravel excavated from the Grey River bed upstream of the Cobden Bridge, and destined for the Auckland markets for landscaping.
In addition, in July last year the Government announced $65.4 million of 'shovel ready' projects, including three bridge replacements in the Grey district, expected to start next month.
West Coast Regional Council river engineer Brendon Russ said a lot of the rock for Franz Josef, where 230,000 tonne was needed, would come from the quarry at Whataroa.
Some will be recovered from the bed of the Waiho (Waiau) River at Franz, to keep costs down.
Mr Russ aid the quarry was "quite a large resource".
In Hokitika, about 80 or 90 tonnes of rock will come from the Camelback quarry, at Kowhitirangi.
Elsewhere, contractors are looking to source gravel.
Westreef has applied to take gravel from the bed of the Punakaiki River and Fox River; Westroads wants to take gravel at Kawhaka Station Ltd on the Old Christchurch Road; and Titan Solutions has applied to take 20,000 cubic metres of gravel from the Taramakau River for the Old Christchurch Road upgrade.
Grey District Council asset manager Mel Sutherland said gravel was needed for the approaches to the new bridges.
"Changes will be as minor as possible, but they will need gravel for the realignment. One thing we've got a lot of is gravel."
'Shovel-ready' projects include:
• $1m for two new water reservoirs in Greymouth
• $1.2m to extend Cron St, Franz Josef.
• $3m to renovate Hokitika Swimming Pool.
• $1.2m to extend Hokitika Airport terminal building.
• $3.5m to excavate and relocate the eroded Fox Glacier landfill.
• $13.4m for Moonlight Creek, Rough (Otututu) River, and the William Stewart bridge replacements.
• $1.8m for Tidal Creek bridge at Karamea.
• $1m for Hector landfill protection.
• $13m for strengthening the railway line at the Omoto slip.