The NZ Transport Agency reopened State Highway 29 at Ruahihi Bluffs, west of Tauranga, at 5.00pm today with the closure of the road tomorrow cancelled, the agency says this section of the road will remain open to a single lane for the rest of the week.
The work to remove unstable rocks undermined by recent weather conditions through hand scaling was completed today, however geologists discovered a large free standing column of loose rock which will require blasting to remove and a plan will be put together this week for the blasting activity, the road was reopened today with safety measures in place, says the NZTA.
The agency's Bay of Plenty state highways manager, Brett Gliddon, says SH29 has been secured at Ruahihi to ensure the safety of travelers using this road for the remainder of the week.
"An earth bund is in place to provide protection and to ensure the road is safe for drivers to use for the rest of the week."
"We are pleased with the progress made today to stabilise loose rock areas identified earlier in the week, however we will certainly need to remove this large free standing column of loose rock now and a plan will put together this week for the blasting activity. We are expecting to close the road again next weekend so this can occur", say Mr Gliddon.
" It's disappointing that we will have to close the state highway again, but the safety of road users is our always our top priority and this work does need to be undertaken now."
The NZTA says drivers will be advised during the week about the details of next weekend's road closure at Ruahihi Bluffs.
"We really appreciate that drivers are inconvenience when we have road closures, drivers have been very understanding and we just want to say thank you."
Mr Gliddon says before starting their journeys people should check with the NZTA's freephone 0800 4 HIGHWAYS or 0800 44 44 49, or its website www.highwayinfo.govt.nz(external link) for up-to-the-minute info on road conditions.
(Above) The column of rock can be seen with no support under it, the rock appears partly white.
For more information please contact:
Senior Advisor, Communications and Engagement
NZ Transport Agency
T 64 07 928 7908
M 64 021 021 67217