A big milestone is coming up for the Auraki Stream road retreat project on State Highway 4 Parapara Road south of Raetihi.
In June 2015, major flooding in and around Whanganui caused substantial damage to parts of SH4 Parapara Road.
Since then Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has completed work on five* major repair sites in addition to work at the site of a subsequent major slip at Te Oreore in 2019.
The Auraki Stream road retreat project involves the relocation of SH4 away from where Mangawhero River slip occurred in June 2015.
Waka Kotahi Regional Manager of Infrastructure Delivery Rob Partridge says work on the project has progressed well and on Thursday (1 June), traffic will be moved onto the new road’s southbound lane.
“Now the main earthworks for the road are complete, we can make the switch. Road users will need to be aware they’re on a different road – please drive safely; and to the conditions. Follow the traffic management and crews in place. They are there for peoples safety,” says Mr Partridge.
The same traffic management that is in place now past the work site will remain in place for traffic on the new road: a 30km/h temporary speed limit and stop/go.
The new stretch of SH4 is around 400m long, about the same as the existing route.
The lane of the new road that people will travel on from Thursday will be unsealed at this stage.
Ongoing earthworks, pavement construction, sealing, line marking, and barrier installation work will continue after the traffic is moved onto the new route.
“In June we hope to be able to be able to open up both lanes of the new road to traffic during nights. By the end of July, weather dependent, we expect to have both lanes sealed for use 24/7.
“In the meantime, planting season is coming up and we are working closely with our iwi partners to design and finalise planting plans for the area for long term restoration,” says Mr Partridge.
It is expected all work will be completed in August, weather dependent.
The project has also included the development of a new wetland area.
“The Auraki Stream project on SH4 Parapara Road has been essential to ensure the road remains safe for all users, and resilient and is future proofed. SH4 Parapara Road is a major trade corridor as well as a scenic tourist route. The work has been made easier because of people’s patience and understanding and we really appreciate that,” says Mr Partridge.
*The five completed repair sites are Hapokopoko Curve Rock, Whiskey Corner, South Raupio Retreat, Otoko Pā overslip and North of Kukuta Road.
Photos below are from the Lower Cut Bench. The road shown is between the Mangawhero River and the earthworks is SH4.