The NZ Transport Agency has started construction on the temporary diversion route around the slip area on State Highway 2 through Waioeka Gorge.
NZTA’s Bay of Plenty state highway Manager, Brett Gliddon says the design of the route and platform is nearly complete and while weather is hampering some of the main works at the slip face, the contractors now have their attention firmly focused on getting this route built.
“We’ve nearly finished designing the route, and our contractor has already started construction of the platform area.”
Mr Gliddon says the NZTA must be satisfied that the slip face is stable before this route can be opened to traffic. This is because the temporary diversion route will be created around the slip area.
“This temporary diversion route will provide relief for motorists, but before we can open it we’ll need to make sure that it is safe to use. We are progressing the route in parallel with our stabilisation work so that we can get the diversion open as soon as possible."
Mr Gliddon says the temporary route would have some significant restrictions on its use and will be subject to time-restrictions.
“It will provide a one lane access so we are expecting traffic will have to be controlled.”
Mr Gliddon says the NZTA continues to focus its activity on getting State Highway 2 reopened as quickly as possible, but the temporary detour will provide immediate access through this area once the slip face is stable.
He is unable to confirm when the temporary detour route will be open.
“We do not want to set false expectations around when it will be open, as there is still the unknown of when the slip face will be stable and what the heavy rain will do to this area this week.”
“We appreciate the disruption the slip is causing the region, and our team are working to restore access as soon as it is safe to do so.”
Mr Gliddon thanked the public for their ongoing patience, and also thanked contractors Downers and Opus for their ongoing hard work in very difficult conditions.
For up to date information on the Waioeka Gorge closure visit our website www.nzta.govt.nz/waioeka-gorge(external link).