Contractors have cleared tonnes of soft soil and vegetation from a section of State Highway 36 (SH36) at Mangorewa Gorge to reduce the risk of slips in the area.
The section of SH36 - between Tauranga and Rotorua-was closed from 9am until 4pm today and yesterday, so a helicopter carrying a monsoon bucket could flush away soft soil and vegetation above the road.
The segment of SH36 has been down to one lane after a slip following heavy rain during Easter weekend.
One lane is now back open to traffic, however the NZ Transport Agency advises motorists to expect short delays tomorrow as contractors finish minor works in the area.
Both lanes of the highway are expected be open late next week after a final inspection is carried out.
Low cloud meant the helicopter couldn’t be used on Wednesday as planned, however contractors used diggers to make good progress on three of the four areas of focus until it could be brought in.
The Transport Agency’s Bay of Plenty highway manager Brett Gliddon said the important work will help reduce the risk of slips in the future, making the road safer for motorists travelling between Tauranga and Rotorua.
“Contractors successfully cleared three areas using diggers on Wednesday and the fourth, largest section was cleared today with the help of a helicopter,” he said.
“Upwards of 5000 litres of water was dropped today, to clear soft soil and vegetation above the road.”
Mr Gliddon said using the helicopter on the last area was the safest option for both contractors and the public.
“The last area was very large and we couldn’t get the digger in to work underneath it,” he said.
“Using the helicopter was the safest option.”
The Transport Agency apologises for any inconvenience and thanks motorists for their understanding while these important safety works were carried out.
For real time information on highway conditions and incidents visit www.nzta.govt.nz(external link) call 0800 4 HIGHWAYS or follow @nztawaibop on twitter.
For personalised information about driving conditions on their frequently used routes, motorists can check out and sign up to On The Move at www.onthemove.govt.nz.(external link)
For more information please contact:
Waikato and Bay of Plenty region
NZ Transport Agency
T: 07 928 7908
M: 021 928 413