Still no access to view Fox Glacier

The access road to view Fox Glacier remains closed, five weeks after Cyclone Fehi washed it out....
The access road to view Fox Glacier remains closed, five weeks after Cyclone Fehi washed it out. Photo: ODT files
Five weeks after Cyclone Fehi washed out the access road to view the Fox Glacier, it remains closed and the Department of Conservation said today it might take a further fortnight to reopen.

The closure since February 1 could not have come at a worst time, at the height of the summer tourist season.

Doc operations manager Wayne Costello said in an update this morning the opening date could be March 23, but that depended on the weather and no more surprises.

Contractors have been working on reinstating the road since the cyclone hit, and have had to lift the causeway and car park by about 2m to get clearance from a rapidly aggrading Fox River bed.

Road access should be finished by the end of next week, Mr Costello said.

However, the track rebuilding and engineered solution required to get walkers from the car park and safely across the bottom of the Gunbarrel rockfall zone was a bigger job than first expected, because the river was now in the "wrong" place, he said.

"The river is hard on the true right-hand bank just above the car park, and getting it out of here to build a safe walking approach is going to take considerably more work. We hope to have the big machinery start on this next week.

"Estimated time to completion is a week. During this same time we will get the rest of the walk across Yellow Creek fan and to the viewpoint tidied up as well."

Mr Costello said every week the job just got bigger or was delayed by the weather.

"Sorry about that, but we are definitely doing our best to get this sorted -- along with the consultants and contractors -- who really have been putting in a huge effort."


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