Seals count cost of quake road rebuild as dozens found dead
DOZENS of seals have died due to the highway rebuild following last November’s earthquake, despite the best efforts of the workers.
In the past three months, the North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery alliance (NCTIR) has recorded 41 seal deaths caused by earthworks or road rebuild activities.
Workers have found 294 dead seals over the same time period, but the cause of the remaining 253 deaths is unknown – but not thought to be related to the works.
NCTIR environmental manager Manea Sweeney said they were doing "everything they can" to minimise deaths and teams of seal handlers were working 24 hours a day to match the schedule of the road works.
Sweeney said NCTIR had a "robust" environmental management framework which helped the construction crews with how they should go about their work. The environmental team was made up of about 40 people.
"With the sheer scale of it, this could be the largest environmental team on a construction project ever in New Zealand."
A DOC spokesman praised the "care and considerable effort" workers had shown.