Day-time closures coming up for SH31 Kāwhia Road


Slip repairs on State Highway 31 Kāwhia Road will require weekday day-time closures for about two weeks from Monday 17 June.

An underslip has developed on a narrow section of road west of the Kāwhia Lookout, and contractors will need weekday day-time closures to safely operate machinery at the site.

The road will be closed from 8am to 5pm each weekday, but will open for 30 minutes to allow traffic through at 11am and at 2pm.  After hours and on weekends stop/go will be in place and a single lane will be open with a speed restriction.

The work is scheduled to be completed before the Matariki public holiday on 28 June.

NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi says during work hours the road will be open for residents up to the work site but not through. The work site can be cleared to allow emergency vehicles to pass.

“The underslip is adjacent to where similar repairs where required last year. While extensive geo-technical testing was done at the site in 2023, this latest area was not deemed to be at risk,” says NZTA System Manager for Waikato, Andrew Oakley.

“The area is a mix of hard sandstone and ash which creates problems for road building, with the ash prone to slipping. Since the new underslip developed there has been further geo-technical work to understand the cause of the problem and design a solution.

“But it is very difficult to predict where weaknesses are and if slips will occur in the future.”

An engineering technique called soil nailing will strengthen the site but because it is very narrow, with a steep drop-off, the road will need to be closed to traffic while work is happening.

SH31 is the only sealed road in and out of the seaside town and carries about 800 vehicles a day.

During the closure, for light vehicles only, there is access in and out of Kāwhia via SH39 to Ngutunui Road, Pekanui Road, Okupata Road to Oparau and back on to SH31. This is a collection of local roads with some unsealed stretches so care is advised. The route is about 10 minutes longer than using SH31.

“We hope most people can get through our worksite while it is open but for those who can’t this alternative route is available for light vehicles and we ask drivers to take care,” Mr Oakley says.

Another smaller repair job has started further west on SH31 near Kāwhia Harbour Road. Contractors are building a retaining wall and ground anchors for an under-slip 1.7km east of Harbour Road.

Work started this week and runs for nine weeks, mostly with a lane closure and stop/go and the occasional 5 minute closure to move machinery. Outside work hours the site is controlled by give way signs.

NZTA thanks people for their patience while these essential repairs are done.

For more information and to sign up for newsletters go to:

SH31 Kawhia Road repairs(external link)

Road with an underslip

The underslip west of the Kāwhia Lookout.