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SH7 Omoto, near Greymouth, progress draining the site, possible road opening to single lane next week

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Drainage work at a large landslide site near Greymouth is having a positive effect, says Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.

A landslide at Omoto closed SH7 a month ago between Greymouth and Stillwater to road traffic and also closed the KiwiRail line into Greymouth.

The Transport Agency notes that land movement has almost ceased in recent days, despite ongoing rainfall, and that the work completed at the site has stabilised the slip enough for a construction road to be built above the existing highway alignment.

A number of horizontal drainage holes have now been completed by the drilling rig, as well as piezometers installed to measure groundwater pressure. “More drainage holes are being drilled to help drain more of the slip and we have started rebuilding the road and rail formation,” says Moira Whinham, Maintenance Contract Manager for the Transport Agency on the West Coast.

“Our best-case scenario is to reopen one lane of highway, unsealed, mid next week, possibly Wednesday, 20 November,” she says. “We need to keep up close monitoring of the site and people need to bear in mind that permanent repairs on this site are still to come. It will be a slightly slower trip into Greymouth for a few more months but it is a relatively short stretch of highway so will have minimal effect upon road users.”

Every effort is being made with KiwiRail and the Transport Agency to ensure access will be maintained during permanent repairs.

“The Transport Agency is working closely with KiwiRail to ensure that we can provide long-term security for both the state highway and rail link.”

“KiwiRail is continuing to work as fast as we can to achieve a rail reconnection between Christchurch and the West Coast, a key region for KiwiRail,” says Greg Miller, KiwiRail Group Chief Executive.

“We are committed to the West Coast, to restoring crucial freight services to our customers there and to restoring our world-renowned TranzAlpine train service to terminate at Greymouth. We are still on track to re-open the rail track in early December.”

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