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Operation to retrieve truck from Remutaka Hill planned next week

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Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency will begin the first stage of one of the most complex retrieval operations ever undertaken on the Wellington state highway network next week.

Following a fatal crash where a large truck left State Highway 2 on the Remutaka Hill and rolled down the bank, Waka Kotahi has been working with suppliers and contractors to develop a plan to retrieve the truck and container.

“Firstly, Waka Kotahi would like to express our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of the man killed in the crash last weekend. Our thoughts are with them, and everyone else affected by this tragedy,” Regional Maintenance and Operations Manager Mark Owen says.

“Retrieving the truck and container from below the Remutaka Hill will be a challenging exercise and perhaps the most complex retrieval operation we’ve ever undertaken on the Wellington state highway network.

“This is due to how far down the bank the truck and container ended up, the immense weight of the truck and container, and the narrow and steep environment of the Remutaka Hill road.

“The extremely complex nature of this operation means we need to do it in two stages. The first stage will involve removing the truck from the bank and is scheduled to begin on next Wednesday night, depending on weather.”

State Highway 2 over the Remutaka Hill will be closed overnight on Wednesday 27 October, from 9pm to 4am Thursday morning to start the recovery process.

“The full closure of the road is necessary to allow multiple tow trucks and a small crane to access the site, and to ensure our crews are able to carry out the operation safely,” Mr Owen says.

Motorists are advised to plan ahead. This is an emergency closure and there will be no ability for any vehicles to cross through before midnight on Wednesday. For people who need to get across the Remutaka Hill after midnight, please contact customer@capitaljourneys.co.nz.

The work is dependent on weather and may be postponed at short notice.

Plans for stage two of the retrieval operation are still being finalised. Once confirmed, details including dates and impacts on traffic will be shared with the public.

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