Combining tramping trails and heritage appeal
Constructed in the 1920s as part of a short-lived timber extraction operation, the Percy Burn Viaduct is 37 metres tall and 125 metres long—one of the world’s largest wooden mill tramway viaducts. It was built to last for 30 years, but a century later it’s still standing and a proud part of the region’s heritage. Unfortunately, as we discovered in 2013, Percy Burn Viaduct had some extensive structural decay. The bridge, which had become a walking trail, was then closed due to safety concerns.
Working with the Port Craig Viaducts Charitable Trust (who manage Percy Burn Viaduct and three other viaducts in Fiordland), our team planned how to repair and reopen this category one historic place. The Trust raised funds to repair the viaduct, and they rerouted the local walking trail in the interim. We provided a maintenance schedule for Percy Burn and the three other structures and designed the repair scheme. During construction, we also conducted site visits and observations.
Percy Burn Viaduct’s repairs were completed in September 2018, and the walking trail was reopened after five years out of commission. Which is great news, because the Hump Ridge Track in Fiordland—of which the Percy Burn Viaduct is a part—is being considered as the next New Zealand Great Walk by the Department of Conservation.
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