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Nevis Bluff, SH6, rock bolting stabilisation starts 26 March, will go through to mid June

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People who use the road between Cromwell and Queenstown, State Highway 6, may spot abseilers and drilling activities at the Nevis Bluff from Tuesday, 26 March.

The NZ Transport Agency’s Aspiring Highways team is about to start significant rock stabilisation work.

Drivers travelling between Cromwell and Queenstown are reminded to take extra care around any road crews or traffic management sites. Short delays are possible.

“As part of the Transport Agency’s ongoing safety and monitoring of the Nevis Bluff, some rock movement was observed in June 2018,” says Mark Stewart, Central Otago Maintenance Contract Manager, NZ Transport Agency.

“This movement has been closely monitored and a detailed inspection of the area was completed in November last year. We have completed the design work over the New Year period and are now in a position to begin work and stabilise a large rock mass known as ‘Pinnacle Ridge’.”

The cost of the work, which will take around 11 weeks to complete, through to mid June, is around $950,000.

“The work will involve stabilising the rock mass with more than 80 rock bolts as the rock mass is quite large and would be significantly disruptive to road users to remove through blasting using explosives,” says Mr Stewart.

“Most of the work can be completed with the road remaining open to two lanes with minimal disruption to road users.”

The Pinnacle Ridge rock feature is next to the site of the 10,000 cubic metre Nevis Bluff September 2000 rockfall, which closed the road for a fortnight and caused significant disruption for months afterwards while clean up and stabilisation work was completed.  (See outline below).

Area of clean up and stabilisation work that was completed

Area of clean up and stabilisation work that was completed

The Pinnacle Ridge feature is of a similar size to that rockfall and this stabilisation work is necessary to reduce the risk of failure and maximise the safety of road users.

The location of the Pinnacle Ridge next to the earlier unstable rockface:

The significant rockfall 18 years ago at Nevis Bluff

The significant rockfall 18 years ago at Nevis Bluff

The Nevis Bluff is about half way between Cromwell and Queenstown – 25 minutes from Cromwell, 35 minutes from Queenstown.

This work is subject to weather conditions.

The Transport Agency thanks everyone for their patience and for taking care while this important safety work is completed.

Plan ahead for a safe, enjoyable journey this summer and autumn. Keep up to date with:

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