Re-opening the Waioeka Gorge to two lanes is likely to be delayed after fractures in the upper left side of the slip face expanded presenting a long term risk to the upper slope area.
Geologists and engineers are working to determine the best approach to secure the slop and remove material that may cause other areas of the slip face to become unstable.
Traffic continues to flow steadily through the temporary road.
The digger working its way across the slip.
The middle rocky outcrop, which was the focus of last week’s update also needs to be removed to provide certainty around the middle slip face being stabilised.
Work on removing the ‘rocky outcrop’ - a large mass in the centre of the Waioeka Gorge slip face - is continuing to exercise NZ Transport Agency engineers.
Digging the track to provide access was causing slips from higher up the face. Now the process is to use the machine start to dig into the rocky outcrop so that debris will fall into the excavated area to help create a track for it to move up the slope.
NZTA communications advisor Glenda Dobbyn says when the machine is above the outcrop it will start removing material from the top down.
Spotters will be positioned on the other side of the Opato Stream at road level during the work to identify any potential danger to the digger operator.
“Once we have certainty about the entire slip face’s stability, we will then have a clearer idea of how long it will take to re-establish State Highway 2, and to determine what facilities we need to put in place to provide long term confidence that this section of the State Highway will not be significantly impacted by another large slip in the near future.”
Motorists are encouraged to go to the agency’s Waioeka Gorge website www.nzta.govt.nz/waioeka-gorge and under Temporary Road click on the ‘Current Highways Conditions’ link to find out the current road conditions before planning your journey through the gorge or call freephone 0800 4HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49).