State Highway 2 (SH2) through Waioeka Gorge will be temporarily closed for one hour periods next week to enable rocks and slip material to be removed from the slope where a large slip occurred in March this year, says the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA).
SH2 through the gorge is the direct link between Opotiki and Gisborne, will be closed on Tuesday 19 June at 2.00pm for about an hour, to allow workers to dislodge material using explosives which is currently overhanging on the slip face. There will also be intermittent closures on Wednesday and Thursday (20-21 June) for an hour at a time at 11.00am, 1.00pm and 3.00pm to allow for the remainder of the work to be completed.
Bay of Plenty state highways manager, Brett Gliddon, says "This work is required to allow us to continue with the reinstatement of the state highway by speeding-up the removal of bulk material from the slip face. The decision to blast this section was made on the basis it was the safest and most efficient way to dislodge this material with minimal disruption to road users."
"We are very aware this is an important road for the Gisborne and Opotiki communities," says Mr Gliddon. "That's why we've timed these works to take place when heavy freight and other traffic volumes are lower than other times of the day.
Mr Gliddon says closing the road while the work is being carried out is essential to ensure the safety of road users and the workers. "As always, we will do our best to keep delays to minimum and we encourage motorists to plan their travel either around the times the works will take place or if they choose to travel at these times then to factor in the extra 1 hour delay."
"We apologise for the temporary inconvenience while this work is being carried out and we appreciate people's understanding of the benefits it will achieve by helping to reinstate the state highway by stabilising the slip face as quickly as possible. We'd like to thank motorists for their patience during these 1 hour closures."
Motorists wanting to find out more about this road works or the detour route in place should go to the NZTA's website at www.nzta.govt.nz/traffic/current-conditions/index.html(external link) or freephone 0800 4HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49).