Damaged trail rough but ready

Work in progress . . . Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail manager Robyn Hyde (front) urges cyclists to take care on flood-damaged sections. Parts of the trail were ravaged by recent floods (first three photos from left), and initial repairs have been carried out on some (right and second from right) until longer-term remedies are completed. PHOTOS: FERGUS, RECREATION CONSTRUCTION AND OAMARU MAIL FILES

The Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail is being patched up after recent flood damage.

The popular route from Mt Cook to Oamaru suffered ‘‘significant damage’’ from heavy rain in July and August, Waitaki District Council assets operations manager Joshua Rendell said in a report.

‘‘Some initial repairs to the Elderslie section were completed after the first event, only to be taken out two weeks later.

‘‘This weather event has impacted most of the trail in the Waitaki district, with washouts, holes, slips, scouring and damage to bridges and cattle stops throughout,’’ Mr Rendell’s report said.

Alps 2 Ocean trail manager Robyn Hyde said work was under way to make the trail ‘‘as good as possible as soon as possible’’.

Initial remedial repairs to get the trail rideable were being carried out, but there would still be ‘‘lumps, hollows, and rough patches’’ that cyclists should look out for, Ms Hyde said.

They would have to get off their bikes and walk in some places.

‘‘We want to repair it enough to be safe to ride.

‘‘Then we’ll go back and do repairs to made it resilient and really nice.’’

However, two sections would not be open for some weeks due to the severity of the damage.

The section from Sailors Cutting to Benmore was likely to be closed until the end of September, Ms Hyde said. Rocks had to be cleared and a barrier rail fixed. Cyclists would need to use State Highway 82 to get past that section.

The trail from Kurow to Otekaieke, known as ‘‘three rivers’’, was not yet ready for a digger to be used after the rivers carved out new channels.

‘‘Part of it’s rideable but there’s quite a lot of scouring,’’ Ms Hyde said.

A slip at Prydes Gully was still being cleared.

Riders could use SH82 between Kurow and Duntroon to bypass the damaged area.

The section from Duntroon to Elephant Rocks could be ridden, but the next stretch from Elephant Rocks to Island Cliff was closed.

The trail was open from Island Cliff to Oamaru, although there was one small bridge that could not be used. It was right beside the road, so cyclists could go on to that for a short distance before rejoining the trail.

Ms Hyde urged cyclists to take care until the full repairs were completed.

Updates would be posted on its Facebook page.

The longer-term repairs would include bigger culverts and a new bridge to future-proof the trail, Ms Hyde said. Options for improved routes through some parts were being sought.

Funding for the repairs, which have ‘‘significant values’’, was being applied for from a central Government source.
‘‘There is no guarantee we will get it,’’ Ms Hyde said.

Mr Rendell’s report said additional repair and resilience work was being scoped and an application to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s extreme weather event funding would be made.

‘‘This has a cap of $300,000 and repairs are likely to exceed this,’’ his report said.

Very few cyclists were using the Alps 2 Ocean trail at this time of year, Ms Hyde said. Commercial tour operators said they did not have any bookings until the end of September.

The main demand was from then until late April or May.