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New seal completes the restoration of SH11 at Lemons Hill


The NZ Transport Agency has completed another milestone in the rehabilitation of Lemons Hill in Northland, with the re-sealing of State Highway 11 past the hillside.

The resealing of the road was completed this week, just over a year since the big slip that led to months of road closures and disruption for locals and visitors to the Bay of Islands, says Northland System Manager Jacqui Hori Hoult.

“The re-sealing of the road is the icing on the cake, really. It completes the restoration of the state highway after the slip.”

“The road has been open to two-way traffic since July but we haven’t until now been able to restore the road surface to a standard befitting a state highway.”

“It’s been a hot summer with long sunny days and little rain in Northland, which is perfect weather for road sealing. But think back to January-February of last year and it was a totally different story.” 

Weeks of persistent heavy rain in January weakened the hillside and the slip on February 13 was followed by Cyclones Fehi and Gita, which hampered the slip clearance work.

It took five months of hard work, and the removal of 50,000 cubic metres of loose materials and trees to stabilise the hillside. That left 5 big benches cut into the hillside with new grass and native bush planted to aid regeneration.

“Looking back, it was a big event for Northland and for our teams and we really appreciated that the local community got behind our efforts to open the road as soon as it was safely possible.”

Lemons Hill resealing March 2019

The fresh seal on SH11 past Lemons Hill. The concrete safety keeps vehicles away from the edge of the hillside and stops any loose material that washes down the slopes from going on to the road.