Set for the chop … Pine trees in a council-owned forest south of Herbert are to be harvested over the next few months.
Waitaki District Council staff consider now to be the best time to fell the trees, for both financial and seasonal reasons.
“With export log prices having improved from last year and before the weather becomes too wet, now is the right time to harvest the pines,” council parks officer Mike Kwant said.
The 30ha block was planted in 1982 and the trees were thinned and pruned, resulting in a high-value forestry block.
“Because State Highway 1 cuts through the plantation, we are working closely with the [New Zealand] Transport Agency and Kiwirail to ensure all safety measures and operational requirements are met.”New Zealand Transport Agency Otago/Southland journey manager Graeme Hall said plans were in place for when the tree felling was under way.
“A traffic management plan has been approved that allows for a 70kmh temporary speed zone while trucks are removing logs from the plantation. It allows for a three to five-day period during the work when there can be up to five-minute delays to State Highway 1 traffic while trees with the potential to fall on or near the highway are felled.
“During these situations, traffic will be controlled by stop/go traffic management to ensure highway and road user safety.”Logging trucks will access and exit the site from one central access road on the west side of State Highway 1.
Mr Kwant said it was expected the harvesting would take 10 to 12 weeks and, once it was completed, the forest would be replanted with pines.