Contractors are currently finishing the construction of a new pedestrian swing bridge across Deep Creek, within the Mount Potts Conservation Area.
This bridge will provide easier access for visitors to Mt Sunday, which is well known to many as Edoras, the capital of Rohan in the Lord of the Rings film trilogy by Sir Peter Jackson.
Mt Sunday is freehold land (an outcome of the LINZ tenure review process) but a conservation covenant provides for public access.
Contractor Andy Haugh said, “While we having been building the bridge we have been impressed by the numbers of visitors to the area.”
Visitor assets ranger Jeff Coulter, who has been supervising the contract, estimates that 8000 people continue to visit the site each year.
“This includes freedom walkers and those on a guided tour by DOC-approved concessionaires,” said Coulter.
The bridge will be open for the public to use in later in August once it has been signed off by the Ashburton District Council.
The bridge crosses Deep Creek, which is a key salmon spawning stream supporting the Rangitata River’s internationally recognised salmon fishing. The creek is also home to the threatened upland longjaw galaxias and an important breeding habitat for New Zealand's unique wrybill/ngutu parore, black-fronted tern/tarapirohe and banded dotterel/turiwhatu.