The highest point on the South Island’s highway network* has recently gained a web camera.
This will help ensure traffic controllers and maintenance crews can monitor the highway as well as informing travellers so they are prepared for road conditions.
Downer, in collaboration with the NZ Transport Agency, installed and commissioned the CCTV camera, on the Coastal Otago side of SH8, the Lindis Pass.
Drivers may have noticed the new camera pole, installed adjacent to existing weather monitoring and measurement equipment and solar panels, high above the highway.
The Lindis Pass, part of the inland route between Christchurch and Queenstown, reaches 965m above sea level at the summit, making it the highest point on the South Island State Highway network.
“State Highway 8 over the Lindis Pass experiences severe alpine winter conditions, with heavy snow and frequent ice,” says the Transport Agency’s Coastal Otago Contract Maintenance Manager Nick Rodger.
“The camera has pan, tilt and zoom capability, allowing Transport Agency and the Coastal Otago highway maintenance contractor Downer, to monitor road conditions and check on road users both from their depot in Dunedin, and at the Transport Agency’s Wellington Transport Operations Centre (WTOC).
“The zoom capability allows remote monitoring of a large section of State Highway 8, from the summit car park down to the Lindis Valley floor. This will help us better manage winter conditions and highway incidents, which will benefit highway users.”
The alpine conditions and lack of power and telecommunications presented severe challenges to the project team. Several repeater sites required helicopter access for installation, to enable communications back into the Transport Agency’s network.
The project, which cost around $110,000, was jointly funded by the Transport Agency and Downer, as an initiative towards improving road safety and winter maintenance on the Coastal Otago network.
Data and video from the camera will initially be used internally for operational purposes, and single images are available for people to see on the Transport Agency’s website.
* State Highway 1 between Tūrangi and Waiōuru (the Desert Road) is the highest pass on the state highway network at about 1074 metres above sea level. The highest state highway is SH48 Bruce Road leading to the Whakapapa Village in the central North Island at approximately 1153 metres. The highest sealed local road pass is the Crown Range Road in Central Otago between Queenstown and Wanaka at about 1076 metres.
Information on the Lindis Pass: www.newzealand.com/int/feature/lindis-pass/ (external link)