Work on a major repair to State Highway 5 at Tumunui, south of Rotorua, gets underway next week and motorists are advised to expect lengthy delays and consider using an alternative route.
NZ Transport Agency contractors will be digging out and replacing a 12 metre wide, four metre deep stretch of the highway, which has been damaged by a natural process called tunnel erosion.
Tunnel erosion starts at depth and gradually migrates to the surface, in this case causing cracks to appear in the road.
The Transport Agency’s Bay of Plenty highway manager Niclas Johansson says work to repair the road will start on Monday August 15 and will take approximately six weeks (weather dependent).
“The damaged section of road will be dug out and replaced with layers of rocks wrapped in geo-textile to act as a bridge across the underlying weak area,” he says.
“The excavation will be four metres deep and extend for most of the width of the road.
“One lane of the road will be worked on at a time to allow traffic to pass through.”
Work to prepare the site, such as moving utility cables, is already underway and the major excavation will start on Monday.
A 30km/h speed restriction and stop/go traffic management has been in place since the damage to the road first occurred in late July.
This traffic management will remain in place until the work is completed.
Motorists should be prepared for delays of up to 15 minutes during work hours and are urged to consider using an alternative route, such as State Highway 1 and State Highway 30.
For real time information on highway conditions and incidents or to report issues on the network visit www.nzta.govt.nz(external link) and click on ‘traffic and travel’, call 0800 4 HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49) or by following the Transport Agency on Facebook or @nztawaibop on twitter.
Motorists can also go to www.drivelive.nz(external link), a dedicated website that tells people what the current travel times are to get to key places around the North Island.