Monday, July 15, 2024

Heaphy Track rebuild set to begin

The first stage of work in repairing storm damage to the Heaphy Track will begin late next week, the Department of Conservation (DOC) said today.

Torrential rain during storms in early February damaged bridges and other visitor infrastructure on the Heaphy Track and across Buller district and the wider West Coast. Late last month DOC structural engineers declared the Heaphy Bridge a write-off.

Contractor Edifice Structures will salvage the Heaphy Bridge to gather parts which can be used for a new bridge and clear the site of material which cannot be reused. 

“The salvage work will start late next week and take about seven days.  It has to be done before any new works are started,” DOC’s Buller Operations Manager, Suvi van Smit says.

DOC engineers completed an assessment of all structural damage on the Heaphy Track last month.

“We’re now working with NIWA to make sure we’ve got a full picture of rainfall data and river flows in the Heaphy catchment,” Ms van Smit said.

“With the increasing frequency of flooding this information is crucial to decisions about a replacement bridge over the Heaphy River, such as its location and height.

“Until we have completed the repairs, the track cannot be walked from one end to the other however it’s open from Kohaihai to Heaphy Hut and from Brown Hut to Mackay Hut for in/out tramps. These are both beautiful walks.”

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