Spectrum 775. The road to Milford - part 2

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Tono kōrero mai

Part two of a two-part documentary.

The road from Te Anau to Milford Sound began construction in 1929 and only in 1992 was the final length of tarseal completed. Jack Perkins talks to
those who lived and worked along one of the most difficult stretches of
road ever constructed in New Zealand.

Jack Perkins is dropped off by the High Altitude Weather Station above the Homer Tunnel portal and Milford road. He waits for the Avalanche Control Team to arrive who will assess any threats posed by the snow fields.

Terry Gilligan and his wife talk about his trucking business which ran
along the unsealed Milford road from 1953. Terry was mail man and a "sly grogger" to make up an income shortfall when driving part loads. He talks about difficult conditions driving through the heavy snow.

Ray Wilson, General Maintenance Engineer from 1953-1980, describes the problems of heavy rainfall (360 inches in one year) in the area and closing the road to the public due to the risk of avalanches.

Officer in Charge, Ron Peacock explains how contractors are required to clean plant and machinery before going into the park to avoid introducing unwanted seeds and weeds. He also talks about tourists visiting the park.

The 120 kilometre tar seal was completed in 1992. Wayne Karen, Job Manager for Works Civil Construction is responsible for avalanche prediction and traffic control during high risk periods. He explains the depot at Knobs Flat provides manual observations that aid their predictions from 45 avalanche paths within 17 km on either side of the tunnel.

Armed with a transceiver and pack, Jack accompanies the Avalanche Control Team up to a snow field called The Raspberry Patch. Here Avalanche Technician, Gavin Wills gathers information for his snow profile. Wayne Karen recalls the last loss of life above the Homer Saddle due to an avalanche in 1983.

First Broadcast 22/11/92.
Repeated 24/11/92, 26/11/92.

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Year 1992

Reference number 10714

Media type AUDIO

Collection Sound Collection

Credits RNZ Collection
Perkins, Jack (b.1940), Interviewer

Duration 00:31:45

Date 22 Nov 1992

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