The NZ Transport Agency says it won’t open State Highway 11 to traffic past the Lemon's Hill slip until at least Friday because of bad weather.
The road was closed to all traffic over the weekend because of forecast heavy rain, which also prevented any slip clearance work. There’s been no work today and more showers are forecast tomorrow.
“The hillside is saturated and a geotechnical inspection today found there’s more loose material above the roadway that has become unstable,” says the Transport Agency’s Northland System Manager Jacqui Hori-Hoult.
“Our crews will be working to remove this unstable material as soon as weather and ground conditions allow. But while they work in this area, and until it has been removed, it’s not safe to open the road.”
“It will take at least 3 days of good weather to remove the bulk of the unstable material. All road openings are cancelled at least until Friday. An update about work progress and a possible opening over the weekend will be made then.”
The Transport Agency apologises for the inconvenience of having to use the detour route and asks for patience and understanding.
“We are constantly monitoring the situation and will reopen the road as soon as it is safe to do so. We have said all along the road opening is subject to daily inspection and weather conditions. We will not compromise on the safety of our road crews and the travelling public,” says Ms Hori-Hoult.
Last week the road was open to one way convoys of traffic in a single lane past the slip between 7:30-8:30am and between 4:30-6pm. The road is closed at all other times while clearance of the February 13 slip continues.
Motorists are asked to use the detour route between Paihia and Kawakawa via SH1, SH10 and SH11 (Pakaraka and Puketona Junction). Please allow an extra 30 minutes for the journey.
Locals can sign up at www.nzta.govt.nz/sh11-lemons-hill-slip to receive an email update on slip clearing progress and details of how and when the road will be reopened. Or go to www.journeys.nzta.govt.nz/sh11(external link)