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Tree removal to improve safety on SH83 near Kurow

The NZ Transport Agency will start work next week removing more than 300 large trees in the road reserve alongside a 2km section of State Highway 83 (Kurow – Duntroon Road, in the Waitaki District).

The trees are a potentially significant hazard to road users as they shed large branches on the highway in high winds as well as on nearby high-voltage power lines.  In the last two years, heavy branches have fallen on high voltage wires three times, causing outages for the surrounding community and considerable work for Waitaki Power.

Transport Agency Coastal Otago Maintenance Contract Manager Nick Rodger says the trees, part of a large shelter belt to the west of the highway between Strachans /Otekaieke Corner and the Kurow Winery, comprise a mix of eucalypts, poplars, pines, and oaks.  A consulting arborist was engaged to determine the number of trees that should be removed, with some memorial and specimen trees, in good health and low risk of shedding, being retained.

The trees need to be taken down due to both the tendency to shed branches in high winds, as well as die-off, believed to be attributable to increased soil moisture levels and fungal attack, says Mr Rodger.

Work is scheduled to begin from Monday, 9 April, and will take around six weeks to complete (weather permitting).

Motorists should expect short delays during the works, as traffic will be restricted to single lane operation during felling and clearance operations.

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