Good weather data is essential to the success of the Milford Road Avalanche programme – some of this data is provided by a network of weather stations dotted among the towering mountains in the area.
These stations send live data back to the Milford Rd Alliance (NZ Transport Agency/Downer) team based in Te Anau, Fiordland NZ Milford Road team for decision making.
Recently, a new weather station was been flown into and erected in one of the more difficult sites high above the Milford Road – the job required good teamwork all around to be efficiently and safely achieved, as you can see in this video clip.
Technology plays a major role in gathering quality information about snowpack stability in “Avalanche start zones” in the mountains above SH94 between Te Anau and Milford Sound.
However, “hands on” on site testing via snow pits and measurements is equally as important to understanding what is happening in these zones. These are areas where snow accumulates and often becomes heavy, with a risk of it breaking away and potentially sending an Avalanche down onto the highway below.
After each major storm clears, the network of weather stations in the mountains surrounding the Milford Road are checked by the Milford Alliance team, who also carryout snow pack testing at the same time. Check this short Helmetcam video to see what is involved.
Illuminating times at the Homer Tunnel, with the installation of more advanced LED lighting inside the tunnel. These provide twice the light on the same amount of power usage as the lights they have replaced. Power conserving ideas such as this are important in a remote location, where all the electricity has to be produced on site.
Meanwhile, it is a busy time with routine maintenance to the tunnel floor, walls and ceilings, a job that has its challenges for the Milford Road Alliance team. They are working with the tunnel closed at night, during winter, and in reasonably confined spaces, as you can see from this video clip.