Repairs will soon be under way to fix substantial damage to the Around the Mountains Cycle Trail caused by Southland’s February floods.
ATMCT manager Susan Mackenzie said a funding injection of $379,793 plus GST approved in May by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) would have a positive impact.
“The February flooding was an unprecedented event which resulted in significant damage to the cycle trail,” she said.
“The floodwaters caused scouring and surface material loss, rendering several areas of the trail impassable and other areas difficult to ride. Flood damage occurred across the entire trail
network from Kingston though to Centre Hill.
“This funding from MBIE will enable us to complete the necessary repairs and improve the riding surface in some areas, while also making the trail more resilient to any future flooding events.”
The funding is from MBIE’s Maintaining the Quality of Great Rides Fund for Extreme Events and is for the full amount, with no contribution required from SDC.
The repair work is scheduled to go out to public tender.
A two-week state of emergency was declared across the Southland District in early February as floodwaters wreaked havoc.
“It affected many towns along the cycle trail as rivers rose and broke their banks, including the Mataura and Oreti rivers and Eyre Creek. Local farmers advised the water rose to waist height
over their paddocks, breaking fences and sweeping away 400 hay bales weighing 700kg each.
One cattle stop near Athol was completely displaced by a few metres,” Ms Mackenzie said.
“The damage which occurred on the trial was heartbreaking to see but not unexpected given the
extent of the flooding and its force.”
The majority of work would involve repairing the Fairlight cycle bridge, clearing culverts, water tables and debris, gravelling and grading flood damage and completing surface rehabilitation on sections which had been eroded.
“This is a valuable opportunity to future-proof the trail further by reshaping it and completing improvements to the riding surface so we can continue to provide a high quality riding experience for cyclists which aligns with our status as one of New Zealand’s Great Rides.”