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Cromwell slip safety work drawing to a close


Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency’s Aspiring Highways team will be completing work at the slip site near Cromwell today (Friday, 14 August).

The work near the Deadman’s Point bridge, on SH8, has involved sluicing unstable schist rocks using helicopters, establishing safe benches/flat areas for diggers to work from and an abseiling team clearing cracked or loose rock.

The work began mid-July and initially required single lane traffic at this part of the highway between Cromwell and Alexandra, a key road link, until a wall of protective, rock-filled containers was installed opening the highway up to two-way traffic.

“All of the dislodged rock material will be trucked from the site by the end of Friday,” says Mark Stewart, Waka Kotahi Maintenance Contract Manager for Central Otago.

“The containers will remain on the highway shoulder, but will be moved back to allow traffic onto the main traffic lanes. However, the speed limit will be maintained at 30k/h given the narrower road width.”

Mr Stewart says there will no longer be delays for rock clearances and apart from the area with a lower speed limit past the containers, the journey will be close to business as usual again. He thanked all regular drivers on the route for their patience and care around crews.

“We intend to construct a new rockfall barrier along this section of highway in the coming months to deal with larger as well as smaller rockfall.  That is being investigated now and design will follow.

“The old rockfall-catch fence along SH8 worked well for smaller rocks, but not so much high velocity, larger rocks from higher up the cliff face,” says Mr Stewart.

Additional rock bolting to stabilise some parts of the rock face may also be needed.

Before: approach from the bridge showing the large slip

Before: approach from the bridge, mid-July 2020.

Before: approach from the bridge showing large slip

Before: approach from the bridge, Google street view earlier this year.

After: the slip in August 2020, showing shipping containers next to the slip.

After: the slip site in August 2020

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