SH85 inland from Dunedin reopening Friday night after four-week closure


State Highway 85 inland from Dunedin, between Palmerston and Kyeburn, will reopen Friday night this week by 7 pm, says Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.

Waka Kotahi crews have been working hard to install drainage improvements on SH85 near the Gold Fields plaque, on a stretch of highway commonly called the Pigroot.

A section of hillside has been slipping for many years requiring regular intervention to maintain the road’s surface and keep road users safe, says Jennifer McLean, Maintenance Contract Manager for Waka Kotahi.

Over the last four weeks, from August 29, this section of SH85 has been closed so that work could be carried out to install deep, counterfort or trench drains to help take water away from the slip site and improve the hillside’s stability.

“One main trench, six metres deep, was excavated and drainage installed, through the road. The trench was filled and the shoulder of the road was reinstated with 3500 cubic metres of material,” says Ms McLean. The final stages included reinstating the guardrail and some final drainage works in the nearby paddocks. The patch in the road will be sealed in the last week of September, next week, if weather stays dry.

Reopening Friday night – care needed, not sealed

SH85 will be reopened to all traffic by 7pm, Friday, 23 September. Care will be required until the new surface is completed, swept and line marking is in place in a week or two.

“Please continue to take care in this area, expect some minor delays and adhere to warnings and temporary speed restrictions while the last stages are completed,” says Ms McLean. “Thanks to everyone for working around this four-week closure so we could put in place a more lasting fix to the drainage issue. We know it has been inconvenient for many regular highway users and residents.”

SH85 is a popular route connecting Central Otago, Dunedin and Oamaru.

The section of highway with new trench drains installed, SH85:

How SH85 looked a month ago: