Spring rock removal, Nevis Bluff and Kawarau Gorge (Bungy) Bridge bluff, starting end of October


Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency’s Central Otago spring safety programme at both the Kawarau Gorge (Bungy) Bridge bluff and Nevis Bluff, SH6, gets underway at the end of the month.

Works will run for around four weeks from Monday, 30 October through to 24 November – a week at the Kawarau Gorge (Bungy) Bridge bluff to start with then three weeks at Nevis Bluff.

“People who travel between Cromwell and Queenstown will need to factor in short delays, up to 10 minutes at a time on weekdays, 8am to 5pm from Monday, 30 October,” says Waka Kotahi System Manager Robert Choveaux.

Both schist rocks bluffs are prone to rockfall and are routinely monitored by Waka Kotahi crews and geotechnical advisors. While the Nevis Bluff spring and autumn work has been regularly programmed in recent years, the Kawarau Gorge Bungy Bridge site also now requires additional maintenance.

“The scaling works at Kawarau Gorge Bungy Bridge is the first stage in a larger programme which will go through into 2024. It includes the installation of 42 rock-bolts and structural mesh to retain the overhanging and fractured upper central section of the Kawarau River Bridge rocky outcrop.”

  • The initial scaling at the Bungy Bridge (Monday, 30 October–Friday, 3 November) is being undertaken before the Nevis Bluff spring works (from Monday 6 November for three weeks).
  • The remaining works at the Bungy Bridge, including rock bolting and safety netting is tentatively programmed for February, 2024.

“The Nevis Bluff and Bungy Bridge are sites we regularly inspect, monitor and complete stabilisation work on as part of our commitment to provide a safe, accessible highway network and reduce the risk of uncontrolled rockfall,” says Mr Choveaux.

Rock face towering over road

The Kawarau Gorge (Bungy) Bridge bluff.

Aerial view over Nevis Bluff with road alongside Kawarau River.

Views over the Nevis Bluff in past seasons, with work underway via temporary platforms.

Scaffolding and ropes on the cliff face.

Wooden platform over the bluff

A deck with a view.

The two rock scaling sites at the Kawarau Gorge (Bungy) Bridge bluff closer to Arrow Junction and the Nevis Bluff, on the Cromwell side of Gibbston Valley.

“The best time to do this work is during the shoulder seasons in autumn and spring when traffic volumes are at their lowest,” says Mr Choveaux.

“People stopped in their cars may be able to see abseilers inspecting and removing loose rock on these rock faces. We need to ensure the road below is clear when rocks are being dropped or loosened.”

  • The spring safety programme will run on weekdays, 8am to 5pm from Monday, 30 October to Friday, 3 November at the Bungy Bridge and Monday, 6 November to Friday, 24 November at Nevis.

“We appreciate everyone’s understanding for any delays that they may encounter and thank them for following the temporary, lowered speeds which are for their safety and the safety of our workers.”