SH2 through the Waioeka Gorge may have to be closed because of continuing concerns about the movement on the Opotiki side of the slip face.
The New Zealand Transport Agency’s latest update on the gorge slip says while smaller slips could be possible, the agency’s geologists don’t believe a large slip is likely.
A view from the top of the rock face.
“We have increased our onsite monitoring procedures to ensure the safety of motorists using the temporary road below,” says communications advisor Glenda Dobbyn.
“We will continue to monitor this area closely, and it’s possible the road may be closed in the interests of motorist safety.”
The agency will provide as much warning as possible if the temporary road has to be closed again, says Glenda.
Opus consultants are putting together a plan which will cover what work needs to be done to strengthen and stabilise the temporary road in the short to medium term while work continues at the slip face.
Some options include installing slope monitoring systems to allow safe and unpatrolled use of the temporary road.
Other measures include reviewing the current stream protection measures and strengthening any areas of possible weakness, to prevent scouring if stream levels rise.
The digger making its way to the top of the rock face.
A digger has nearly completed the track up the east side of the rocky outcrop also known as the ’whaleback’ and is about to construct a platform at the top of this material.
Once the platform has been constructed the machine can start the bulk removal of this material, which is expected this week if the weather is good, says Glenda.
Long term plans to re-open both lanes of the state highway will be discussed in the coming months.
SH2 through the Waioeka Gorge was closed by large slips on March 2 and 3.
The single lane diversion past the base of the slip was opened on March 29 in daylight hours only, and opened 24/7 on April 5.