State Highway 59 remains closed between Pukerua Bay and Paekākāriki as contractors work to stabilise the hill above the road. This area had multiple slips last month and requires a significant amount of work to allow the highway to be made safe for road users.
Mark Owen, Regional Manager Wellington and Top of the South, says if all goes smoothly, the aim is to reopen the road in the week of 12 September. The safety project team is assessing the site daily and will look to allow limited public access through the roadworks site as soon as it is safe to do so.
“In the meantime, because of the slope’s instability and the limited workspace available, State Highway 59 remains closed to all road users (including cyclists and pedestrians) for safety reasons. Limited access is available for replacement buses when the rail connection is not operating. This allows them to keep to their timetables and maintains the public transport link between Pukerua Bay and Paekākāriki.”
Mark Owen says planning and design work for a permanent repair has been developed and is being implemented.
“A hillside safety project is well underway. Excavators are working at the top and bottom of the hillside to remove vegetation and soil to create a slope that will be stable long-term, rather than do a quick temporary clean-up. Benches (steps) are being formed along the hill to capture debris, like the benches seen on the Ngauranga Gorge hillside.”
“Multiple crews are working on rosters of 10 hours a day, seven days a week, to complete the safety project as quickly as possible”, Mr Owen says
Fifteen thousand cubic metres of material will be removed from the site – a total of 2345 truckloads of earth - with 7000 cubic metres removed as of Thursday, 1 September.
Mr Owen says other work is being done simultaneously to make the most efficient use of the closure.
“This includes road and barrier repairs, pruning of overhanging trees and drain clearing. Work is also starting on making the Pukerua Bay lookout at the top of the hill safe, where two slips have undermined footpaths leading down to the beach. Doing all this work now means less has to be done in the coming year and fewer future hassles for road users and residents.”
Advice for road users:
Residents can access Pukerua Bay from the south, and Paekākāriki resident access is from the north. All other road users should avoid the area and use State Highway 1 as an alternate route. Cyclists and pedestrians can use Pukerua Beach to access the path at the bottom of the hill, but they need to take care on the track and exercise caution around high tides.
Waka Kotahi understands the closure is inconvenient for residents and road users and wants to thank them for their patience and cooperation while this essential work is carried out.