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Dunedin City Council – Kaunihera-a-rohe o Otepoti

Table of contents

31 July 2018

The main engineering work on the dam will be completed in October. Some repairs will be done on Burma Road and we expect to have it opened by the end of October.

A new bridge will be built over the spillway and the crest track will be re-opened by the end of the year. The old bridge was in poor condition and the new one will give people with wheelchairs and buggies better access.

The project has been further delayed because some issues with the structure of the old dam were found recently, which required investigation and repair. These issues have now been fixed.

Recent project highlights have been the construction of the wave wall, with the panels being successfully installed in June. The new wall will protect the dam by stopping waves coming over the crest if it is windy and will create a safety barrier along the edge of the reservoir.

We are looking forward to seeing landscaping and art work take shape over the next year. We’ve had a good response to our request for proposals for a creative vision and artwork for the area and expect to award the contract for this work in September.

3 May 2018

Work to strengthen Ross Creek dam is progressing well.

The dam face has now been rebuilt. The finished bank extends further than the original to provide greater stability and allow more water to be kept in the dam. The spillway is being widened so it can cope with flows from the reservoir after heavy rain. Work has started on the crest of the dam to prepare it before a new concrete wave wall is installed.

The main engineering work on the dam is expected to be finished by the middle of the year. The footpath along the crest will then be opened, with a new footbridge across the spillway channel, and Burma Road will be re-opened. Some landscaping and minor works will need to be completed once the main work is finished, and the timing of this will be chosen to fit in with the planting season.

We are planning to engage an artist to incorporate art into the restoration of the dam area once the engineering works are complete, which will make it an even more attractive destination for runners, walkers and other recreational users.

The timeframe had to be extended due to unforeseen ground and structural conditions, archaeological discoveries and bad weather. This has increased the expected cost of the project from $6.6 million to $8.6 million.

21 December 2017

It’s been a busy year at Ross Creek and we’ve reached a number of milestones.

The track along the Burma Road side of the dam crest is now open again after being closed for a pipe to be installed, which will allow water to be taken out of the dam if needed. Now that the new pipe is in place, we have been able to remove some of the old cast iron pipes and fittings from the tunnel under the dam.

Two-thirds of the base of the dam has been filled with new material, and work can now speed up as the weather will have less effect on it. The finished bank will extend further than the original to provide greater stability and allow more water to be kept in the dam.

The spillway on the Rockside Road side of the crest needs to be widened to cope with flows from the reservoir after heavy rain. We are cutting into the rock beside the spillway to widen it and compacting the ground to provide a strong foundation. If you are in the area, you are likely to notice some minor ground shaking and noise while this work is happening.

The completion date for the project has been extended because the excavation required was deeper than expected and work stopped for a period following archaeological discoveries. Weather also caused some delays.

Construction work on the dam is now expected to be finished around the middle of 2018. The strengthened dam will be allowed to consolidate for a year after that, and then it will be filled. During the consolidation period, the site will be restored as a recreational amenity for the city. We will do some landscaping and look at opportunities to incorporate art works in the area. The site will be re-opened to the public once all the work has finished and it is safe to do so.

28 September 2017


The track along the wall of the dam to the left of the crest (red on the map below) has been closed again and will re-open around the end of October. (Update: we now expect to re-open the track in mid-November.) This track may be closed again later in the year for further work.

17 August 2017


The track along the wall of the dam to the left of the crest (red on the map below) will be temporarily open from 23 August until mid-September, then closed until around mid-October to install a pipe. This track will also be closed again later in the year for work on the wave protection wall.

16 June 2017

The site has been cleared and strengthening work on the base of the dam bank is underway. The height of the concrete wall on the spillway is being raised and the old water treatment plant building has been turned into a temporary site office for project staff.

Timber from the original wooden spillway (1860s) was discovered in April and the DCC is seeking advice on preservation.


The tracks within the green zone (see image below) will be closed until construction ends next autumn.

The track along the crest of the dam (blue) will be closed from Monday, 19 June until construction ends. The bridge at the north end of the crest will be removed so further work can be done on the spillway below the dam. The bridge will be assessed for any repair work, repaired (if required) and reinstalled at the end of the project.

The track along the wall of the dam to the left of the crest (red) will be closed from July until around October this year to install a pipe. This track will be closed again later in the year for work on the wave protection wall.

Burma Road is closed to all traffic. We would like to ask runners and walkers to avoid this road as trucks are using it to access the construction site.

1 February 2017

Physical work on the Ross Creek Reservoir refurbishment project will start in mid February and is expected to take a year. The refurbished reservoir will be allowed to consolidate for a year after that, and then it will be filled and commissioned.

During the construction, some of the walking tracks will be closed. Signs will tell the public where they are in relation to the construction site and which walkways are available. The construction site will be fenced off. Trucks will be travelling along Burma Road, and traffic will be managed for safety.

The contract for the refurbishment project was awarded to Downer New Zealand Ltd. The work will be overseen by Opus International Consultants Ltd and the DCC.

The project is expected to cost $6.6 million.

28 October 2016

The refurbishment of the Ross Creek reservoir is getting underway.

Opus International Consultants Ltd has been employed by the Dunedin City Council to oversee the work. We have asked for tenders and they close on 7 November 2016, with construction expected to start in January 2017 and run for around 18 months.

The main reason for this project is dam safety, focusing on strengthening the banks of the reservoir. The successful contractor will also clear the site and repair and construct a new drainage system.

We will take all practical steps to ensure that heritage structures and native plants are not disturbed. If we have to remove any plants, they will be replanted where possible.

During the refurbishment, some of the walks will be closed. Signs will be put up to let the public know where they are in relation to the construction site and which walkways are available. The construction site will be fenced off at all times for public safety.

We do not expect the reservoir will need to be drained, so the water level should stay around where it is now. If drainage is required for safety reasons, we will meet with affected people to discuss the possible impact of this and the best approach to use.

We will keep in touch with residents and update this page as the project proceeds.

Interim work – consent and ground investigation

The dam has been closely monitored since large cracks appeared in 2010. An irrigation system was installed on the face of the dam, and the water level gradually lowered to prevent further instability.

The site was cleared and surveyed in 2013, then building consent was applied for. The consent was put on hold as we were asked to provide more information and have ground investigations done. This work was completed in 2015, and the results of the ground investigation informed the final design.

Building consent was granted in April 2016.

The situation in April 2013

Southern to Mt Grand Pump Station is under tender evaluation – this project will be carried out within the confines of the Southern Water Treatment Plant and a tiny bit of pipework on Townleys Road and won’t affect anyone.

Design and construction management for the Ross Creek Dam has been let to Opus.  Initial surveying has been completed for preliminary design.

An area of scrubby bush below the main embankment will take up to two weeks, and tracks around the embankment (including the crest track) will be closed during this time.  There will be noise and disturbance.  This will allow detailed survey and detailed design of the new dam face to be carried out.

Life will resume to normal (apart from the cleared scrub) then for a period of time until detailed design and tendering are complete.

Aim for tenders to close in August 2013.

October 2013 is when major construction is due to start on the embankment.  It is expected to last for 12 months, and during this time, the tracks around the embankment will be closed.  All northern tracks will remain open throughout.  Some local road closures or traffic re-direction may be required as part of the construction / material haulage.

The pipeline and pump station from Ross Creek to Mt Grand will follow this work (or slightly overlap).  This means that the old treatment plant site will remain out-of-bounds for potentially another 12 months after completion of the Dam embankment as it will probably be the field office and yard for this project. The full extent will not be known until tenders close, which is at least six months away.

Ross Creek Reservoir Dam Clearance Ross Creek Reservoir Dam Clearance

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