The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) advises that State Highway 35 will remain closed at Maraenui Hill, approximately 32km east of Opotiki, until further notice.
NZTA Acting Bay of Plenty State Highway Manager Kevin Reid says an inspection of the slip site this morning confirmed that the site is still subsiding.
The NZTA is currently working to clear an unsealed forestry road that will provide vehicle access around the slip site and back onto SH35.
Mr Reid says the forestry road has not been used for some time and requires extensive work to make it safe for public use.
Weather permitting the forestry road will be opened as a detour for light vehicles by the end of this coming weekend. Further work will need to be carried out to make the route suitable for heavy vehicles.
Mr Reid says, “We will do everything we can to open the detour route to heavy vehicles as soon as possible. All motorists planning to use this detour route will need to take care as it is very steep and windy.”
Once opened, the forestry road detour will have a 30km/h speed restriction and carry one lane of traffic at all times, managed by stop/go traffic control. The detour is expected to add an additional 10 minutes travel time.
Updates about the closure will be aired on Whakatane radio station IXX and posted on the highway information section of NZTA web site: www.nzta.govt.nz(external link)