The Challenge:

The St James Conservation Area covers over 78,000 ha and includes a variety of terrain from native forest to mountainous, alpine tussock covered environments.

HGM were contracted to complete the Homestead Run shared bike and walking track in the St James Conservation area. This contract consisted of 7km of re-shaping of existing track and construction of new track to complete the 15km circuit.

The remote location brought extra challenges to the project along with adverse weather and ground conditions.

The Solution:

A 7km section of the existing Peters Valley rack was upgraded with water courses installed and 8 km of new track was built using a variety of track building methods to suit the varying terrain and ground conditions. This included installing 50 new 300mm and 450mm dia culverts with natural rock headwalls, and 93 metres of timber boardwalks and bridges.

To help preserve the environment an emphasis was made to use local materials as much as possible. Gravel used on the track was screened from local quarrys and rocks for the culvert headwalls were sourced locally. There was however a 100m wet section of the track that was built up with filter cloth and geo-web and board walks were installed in other sections to ensure the track would stand up to bike and pedestrian use all year round.

Health and Safety was a big focus throughout the project with workers accommodated at the St James Homestead to minimise traffic movements over the hazardous mountain passes and satellite phones were carried due to the lack of cell phone reception on site. 

DOC were happy with the finished track and contracted HGM to carry out repairs on some other the other 4 wheel drive tracks in the area before the plant and equipment was returned to Christchurch.