Lees Valley rd
Any Cantabrians know if the Lees Valley Rd is open? DOC say no access to Wharfwdale from Lees but say nothing about Youngman/Tarn and I can't find anything on any on the Canterbury or national road closures sites to say it's closed. Matt
I have heard open from Oxford end, Okuku Pass Rd still closed.
There was a massive slip at the oxford end last May and the bridge at the lees valley end of the gorge was taken out. I cant find any info on it still being closed or when it reopened. Might go for a drive this afternoon. Okuku end we went for a drive in the 4wd last week. Drove over the road closed sign as it was lying down and into that end of lees valley. There has been some big culvert repairs and a bit of tree fall on the way over but as far as Okuku river it was ok. Okuku river is definitely 4wd only with water on the bonnet and a search for a safe crossing After that we got up out of the valley and as far as a stand of pine trees several of which were across the road. We gave up maybe a kilometer from Lees saddle so maybe 5km from the Puteraki road end and 50km from the Townsend road end. Might go for a drive this afternoon to look from the other end
It was an interesting drive. The answer is you can but probably you shouldnt. Start at a very large road closed sign on the gate next to the cattle stop on the side of the road. The road itself is in ok condition for an suv (I was in a Subaru XV) but not sure if I would take a brand new Corolla. A few pot holes a few areas where the gravel is gone down to a rock surface and a few areas that were soft after culvert repairs and a few washouts of the edge to watch out for. Also a few work vehicles who did not expect cars coming the other way. Nearly all the bridges had had major work to the approaches and a lot of gravel and broken trees in the paddocks. I got past both the Townsend and Puteraki track start points but did not go into the Puteraki carpark 3km from the road. That could be fun. I turned round just after the northernmost Ashley bridge due to a farmer driving a large flock of sheep along the road but between there and where I got to last week the only possible obstacles are fallen trees and I expect farmers could well have cleared these now. If not take a chainsaw. The other question is what your insurance company would say if you had a mishap on the wrong side of the road closed sign. I suspect they may have difficulty finding your policy
Thanks for that. Proably not worth the risk for an overnighter with rain on the forecast. Sounds like a good risk of ending up the far side of a slip.
Ive driven out to the start of pinchgut track several times and never liked the look of the crossing of the Okuku since the flood. When its dirty obviously fast and a 2kg rock thrown high to the center isnt heard hitting the bottom and the big rapid just downstream. I dont chicken out easily but that is on the wrong side of my limit. As for Lees valley. I think the road is mostly stable just not yet back to its usual standard. Okuku pass was always a bit rough
Road was in excelent condition - far better than most of out PCL access roads in Central. Track to rodend from Youngmans has sustained a bit of damage. Large sections of valley floor no longer exist, and also a bit of messing around to pick the track up again after river crossings as the trees hosting the markers are long gone. Found and old NZFS (red permolat) track down the spur from pt 1775 to Youngmans via pt1044. Would have been very handy if it weren't completely overgrown.
Did you go into Youngmans hut? From memory its not far above the river. What about the vehicle track from Lees Valley road to the deer fence where the track proper starts? Road in excellent condition? True it could be driven by any car but I wouldnt rate it much higher than that. Its never been in excellent condition. Would be no fun if it was
Track to deer fence was unaffected. Would be ok in 2wd with good clearence. From deer fence to forks recently buldozed so uncompacted & spongy. For those that can get a key. Youngman Str hut unaffected by high river but the campspots in the trees had all been under quite a bit of water. Probable 2-3' of height between high water mark & hut.
At the bridge over the Ashley just north of the road the whole place looked like a war zone. Obviously the approaches to the bridge had been rebuilt but the piles of gravel suggest water might have been a meter over the bridge. Then all the trees just smashed 3 or 4 meters above the ground. Dont know where the rest of those trees went
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