The Waioeka Gorge has made steady progress with the top third of the slope now stable and work is underway to stabilise a problematic area in the middle of the slope, says the NZTA.
NZTA Bay of Plenty state highways manager, Brett Gliddon says sluicing using monsoon buckets has helped slip material to come down from the top of the slope face therefore stabilising it and now work is underway to remove a mass of material sitting in the middle of the slope.
“The material in the middle contains around 20,000 cubic metres of trees and rubble; it needs to come down so we can move machinery up the slope.”
Mr Gliddon says the logs will be winched down; this process will also help to bring down any loose material sitting around the trees.
Monsoon buckets will continue to sluice any further loose material from the slip face, he says.
Once this middle slope area is stabilised, staff and machines can come in and start to remove the remaining slip material from the top of the slip face.
“Once the slope face is stabilised than the bulk removal of material will be relatively quick, we can than repair the road before re-opening it to traffic”, he says.
Mr Gliddon says material ia already being removed from the base of the slope while activity is concentrated on the slip material in the middle of the slope.
“We have removed material to create access tracks at the base of the slip; we are also removing material that has come done from the top of the slope. This will continue while we stabilise the slip in the middle.”
The gorge has been closed for a week and a half and Mr Gliddon says this is a steady and positive progress.