22 Feb 2014

Waitutu viaducts to be restored

9:16 pm on 22 February 2014

Four giant timber viaducts built nearly a century ago in the rugged Waitutu Forest in Fiordland National Park are to be restored.

The viaducts, which have Category 1 historic status, were built in the early 1920s as part of a timber tramline to the Port Craig logging and sawmill operation.

The Percy Burn viaduct, before its closure.

The Percy Burn viaduct, before its closure. Photo: DOC WEBSITE

The mills were dismantled long ago, and the viaducts are now part of the Hump Ridge Trail along Fiordland's South Coast.

However, the Percy Burn viaduct - the highest timber trestle bridge in the Southern Hemisphere - was closed last May due to decay and corrosion.

Now the Department of Conservation, the Southland District Council and the Port Craig Viaduct Trust have pledged nearly $480,000 to restore all four viaducts.

Conservation Minister Nick Smith says the viaducts are a spectacular feature of the Hump Ridge Track, which generations of New Zealanders and international visitors must continue to be able to enjoy.