OTIRA VIADUCT COMPLETION GETS THUMBS UP FROM CONSERVATION

  • Nick Smith
Conservation

Conservation Minister Nick Smith today congratulated the groups involved in the construction of the Otira Viaduct on the project's approach to conservation of the area.

"The construction of the Otira Viaduct saw a successful partnership between the Department of Conservation, Transit New Zealand and McConnell Smith to ensure the project had limited impact on the conservation values of Arthur's Pass National Park. Through careful planning and consultation, disturbance to bird life such as great spotted kiwi, blue duck and kea, plant communities including the kaikawaka and rata, landforms, water quality and the scenic, cultural and historic values of the park has been minimal."

Among the steps taken were the steam cleaning of vehicles before they entered the construction site, to prevent weeds from entering the National Park and the restoration of cleared areas with seeds taken from those areas. Transit New Zealand funded the cost of a departmental representative, who carried out regular monitoring of the works and acted as an on the ground point of contact for all parties.

"The new viaduct is a wonderful asset for NZ that will ensure the safe and reliable passage through some of our most spectacular mountain landscapes. The viaduct is more environmentally friendly than the road, which required continuous road works and scarring of the landscape. The viaduct will also serve as a wonderful viewing platform for the Arthurs Pass National Park. This project shows that roading and conservation interests can work together for mutual benefit."