Dislodging rock in an CAT excavator can be hard enough, let alone when the heavy machinery is balancing precariously on top of a massive slip.

But this was not just another day on the job for heavy equipment opererator Paul O’Sullivan as he assisted in efforts to clear Marlborough’s Awatere Valley Rd in New Zealand.  It took 5 hours to maneuver to the top of the rock slide.

The Edridge Contracting owned CAT excavator was tasked with the removal of rock overhanging the landslide which could prove deadly for the next phase of the road rebuild.

An additional spotter helped O’Sullivan monitor his position.

With more than 30 years of experience in earthworks, O’Sullivan said the job was nothing out of the ordinary.

“I’ve got a head for heights and done many tricky ones over the years,” he said.

“It was a fantastic view from the top but you’ve got to focus on what you’re doing.”

The next phase of the job is removing rocks which were jammed on the slip face using dynamite.

The photo below of the digger has circulated on social media and O’Sullivan said he was pleased that people appreciated the work his team were doing.

“We’ve had a few people call up and say thank you,” he said.

Work will continue on the Awatere Valley Rd slip this week, O’Sullivan said.

A helicopter is planned to rinse the slip free of smaller rocks to allow a remote-controlled excavator to then cut into it.


CAT excavator perched atop a rock slide in New Zealand


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