The NZTA has announced an expansion of its plans to strengthen the cliff face at Rocks Road following the unprecedented storm late last year.
NZTA operations manager Mark Owen says that following further investigations, the NZTA has significantly expanded the programme of work planned to secure the cliff-face.
This will involve rock bolting (drilling steel columns into the cliff face to hold it together), around 400 square metres of netting, concrete sprayed onto the cliff face to prevent erosion, and drainage improvements so the cliff face is less prone to becoming waterlogged.
Mr Owen says the current road restrictions will now remain in place until May to enable the first phase of the work, rock bolting, to be carried out.
“We’ve been working on designs to stabilise the cliffs, and our investigations have shown that the areas that need special attention are larger than originally envisaged. It’s crucial we do a thorough job to ensure the safety of motorists and the long-term resilience of the route.”
“This extensive programme means the work will take longer than initially expected, but will deliver a more comprehensive, secure solution.”
Mr Owen said the NZTA shared the frustration of cyclists about the disruption the storm damage had caused, and thanked people for their ongoing patience and understanding.
“We realise this isn’t an ideal situation, but safety must come first, and it’s imperative that we take the time to do the job right.”
“We appreciate the road restrictions are a headache for everyone, and we urge motorists and cyclists to exercise courtesy to one another and put safety before urgency
Mr Owen said the alternative route via Waimea Road remained the safer route for cyclists, and reiterated that cyclists who chose to use Rocks Road should use the footpath for the 200 metre section of highway affected by the cliff face.
Mr Owen says the final phase of work, the installation of rockfall netting, is expected to be completed in July, but this will not require the road width to be affected to effects on drivers and cyclists will be minimal.