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Helicopter – Essential tool in clearing gully for new motorway


7 April 2016  |  Transmission Gully Project  |  Media release

A helicopter will be used to help with the clearance of vegetation along the Te Puka Stream Valley, inland from Paekakariki, as part of the preparation for construction of the Transmission Gully motorway.

Project Director, Boyd Knights, says this vegetation clearance is a significant piece of work given the volume of material that needs to be removed and the specific challenges presented by the environment itself.

“Because the terrain is both steep and heavily forested, using the helicopter to clear the trees once they have been felled is the safest method of clearing the site. It also reduces the risk of disturbing surrounding vegetation.”

The trees will be flown north within the motorway designation (the area in which the road works will be undertaken) and stored within the project site for later incorporation as stabilisation material during construction of the road corridor.

The helicopter will not pass over any dwellings or public roads while transporting trees.

An estimated 32 hectares of forest will be cleared during the operation. This work is scheduled to begin in May and will take around five months to complete.

To compensate for the loss of vegetation removed during the road construction, more than 530 hectares will be rehabilitated or re-planted in eight areas along the 27 kilometre motorway route. These sites will remain protected.

The mitigation planting will see some large areas of land surrounding Transmission Gully protected or re-vegetated to provide in total one of the largest conservation estates in the region.

This time last year, electricity provider Transpower also relied on helicopters to access hard-to-reach sites to dismantle some of the transmission towers that made up the transmission line that once ran through the Gully, as part of the final stage of its Paraparaumu substation upgrade.