Section of cycle trail closed after rain damage

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Heavy localised rain over the weekend – including 29mm in just one hour – caused substantial damage to a section of the Queenstown Trail.

Staff from the Queenstown Lakes District Council, which is responsible for maintenance of the trail, assessed the damage on Monday.

Trail user Greg Thompson says the track from Lake Hayes Estate to Glenda Drive, Frankton, was impassable for cyclists and hazardous for walkers and the only alternative was along State Highway 6, where there were ongoing roadworks.

“It becomes doubly hazardous … but other than going up the highway and dicing with the traffic, this is the only pedestrian and cycleway to get from Lower Shotover up on to Frankton Flats,” Thompson says.  

Council communications manager Michele Poole says that section of track was closed temporarily.

”QLDC staff and contractors are still assessing the possibilities for a detour. There are very limited options,” she said.

The rest of the trail and others in the network would be assessed once the rain stopped.

The council asked members of the public to alert it to any further damage, giving as much detail as possible about location and extent.

About 56mm of rain fell at Queenstown Airport between midnight Thursday and midnight Sunday.

On Friday, 29mm fell between 7pm and 8pm.

John Law, meteorologist with MetService, says: “It was a real active day with good rumbles of thunder and heavy downpours.

“It was really intense bursts of rain, but it was of a convective nature, so showers that bubble up with the daytime heat to generate some pretty impressive showers.”

That resulted in the 7-8pm deluge.

“Although that is an hourly total, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a shorter space than that.

“Could have come down very quickly, very intense and if you were out in it you will have known.”