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MILFORD ROAD

TO BE COMPLETED

A TOURIST ATTRACTION

CABINET'S DECISION

An announcement that the Government had decided to complete the Eglinton Valley Eoad through to Milford Sound was made last night by the Minister of Public Works (the Hon. J. Bitchener). The Minister stated that an efiort would be' made to complete fche project in under three years, and bo that^end it was intended to place an additional 100 men on the work, making the total number engaged 200. ! Mr. Bitchener stated that the work, from the point where the road reached ithe valley of the Hollyford River on jto Milford, was of a much more diffi|cult nature than that already completed. The Unemployment Board had given assistance to the Public Works Department in the construction of the 'load, and would contribute towards the cost of completion. "The possible routes for a road to Milford have now been 'very carefully investigated by the Public Works Department," said Mr. Bitehener, "and after mauy trials the- road has been, definitely located to pass under the Homer Saddle. TUNNELLING OPERATIONS. "The crossing of the main divide between the Hollyford Eiver and Milford Sound basin is the most difficult and costly part of the undertaking, and necessitated the driving of a fairly long tunnel wherever it was crossed. It was generally considered that the Gertrude Saddle was the most favourable point at which to cross the divide, but the tunnelling required on this route was found to be nearly 107 chains in length, whereas it is possible to pass under the Homer Saddle with one tunnel of 60 chains in length, "In addition to this advantage, the road on the Milford side of tjhe main range is located in much easier country than it . would be after passing through the tunnel on the Gertrude Saddle route; in fact, the route down the Cleddau Valley has turned out to be very much simpler than was expected from the preliminary investigation. "The total length of the road from Te Anau to Milford is a little over 74 miles, and of this 54 miles have already been constructed, leaving 20 miles to finish. The road after passing along Lake Te Anau for about 20 miles runs up the Eglinton River valley right to its source in Lake Loehie, and then runs down into the Hollyford Eiver. WONDERFUL GRANDEUR. 'The beauty of the scenery in the Eglinton valley is now well known to thousands of tourists who have visited it since the road has been made, but the scenery in the Hollyford Eiver exceeds even this in wonderful grandeur, where the mountains tower up almost perpendicularly on either side to a height of over 5000 feet above the road. Ten miles run up the Hollyford Eiver brings the road to the tunnel under the Homer Saddle. The tunnel will be on a down grade* of approximately lin 10 towards Milford, and will be at first constructed as a oneway tunnel, but in such a way that it can subsequently be widened to a twoway tunnel. ;.,..'■

"After several trials it was found possible to locate the tunnel almost entirely in solid, rock, there being now only 3i chains of tunnel under heavy ground where it will heed to be lined with concrete. These few chains will be made at once a two-way tunnel. In passing out of'the tunnel the road will enter the 'Cleddau Valley, and continue along the floor of the valley to Milford. Th'e scenery in this valley is magnificent; rivalling that of the Hollyford Eiver and even Milford Sound itself. A SAFE BEETHAGE. "The road'will end right at Milford Sound Hostel,-and adjacent to deep water, where it will be possible to bring boats of ocean-going size. Investigations have already been made for a wharf site- in deep water, and a safe and sheltered berthage has been obtained. It is believed that when this road is opened up for motor-car traffic the present hostel at Milfoi'd Sound will hardly be able to accommodate the huge increase in tourist traffic, but no additions have so far been considered. "At present the Public Works Department has about 100 men employed on the road. With this number the road could not bo completed under six years, so it has been decided to double this number and endeavour to complete the work in less than three years. "The most important thing to do is to push qn.aToad to the tunnel from, the Te Anau-end,, so as to enable the tunnel oxca'vation" to" be 'undertaken at a"s early a date as possible. As soon as excavation machinery can be brought to the eastern tunnql portal a small drive will be driven as quickly as possible to provide adequate drainage and ventjlation for the full tunnel excavation,' and to provide an access to the Cleddau Valley and the Milford end of the road. By doing this, it will be possible ,to keep the full 200 men or more ■ employed until the complption of the road. USE OF MACHINERY. "Although it is desired that as much manual work as feasible he utilised on the road to give employment to as many men as possible, machinery must be used in the tunnel and for the more difficult work on the 'road, in order to keep down expenditure. Plant will be taken up to the tunnel as soon as reasonable access is obtained. It is anticipated that the rock will be exceedingly hard to drill, but that it will stand without lining."

Mr. Bitchener said now that a decision had been made to complete the road, survey parties were commencing immediateljy on-the work of definite location and detail estimating. The Government felt that the building of this road ;would open up to the people of New Zlealand, and to tourists from abroad, sojenic wonders that have so far not ]>een accessible to thousands who would give much to have- seen them, and that the work would eventually in rnany ways more than repay the cost of its construction.The District Engineer, Dunedin, would be instructed to increase the number of men and proceed with the work immediately.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/EP19340613.2.122

Bibliographic details

MILFORD ROAD, Evening Post, Volume CXVII, Issue 138, 13 June 1934

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1,020

MILFORD ROAD Evening Post, Volume CXVII, Issue 138, 13 June 1934

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