The NZ Transport Agency says both lanes of a section of State Highway 2 affected by a slip in the Waioeka Gorge should be open by the weekend.
Last night at 7:00 p.m., slip material fell in the Gorge just 1.07km east of Matahanea, forcing the road to be temporarily closed for 20 minutes.
The road has since been re-opened with one-way traffic management in place through the slip affected area.
Bay of Plenty State Highway Manager, Brett Gliddon says heavy rain caused the rock face to destabilise and an estimated 4,000 cubic metres of material fell onto the road forcing the temporary closure.
Around five trucks and an excavator are working to remove the slip material and to reinstate a barrier which moved when the slip material came down, he says.
A speed restriction of 30km/hr is currently in place in the slip affected area, which is near Sandy's Bridge.
Mr Gliddon says the Gorge is monitored regularly by contractors particularly in areas where slips have occurred previously so that any movement of material is cleared quickly. Last night the road was closed for 20 minutes until contractors were able to set up traffic management controls and a single lane diversion.
The Gorge is prone to slips during heavy rainfall as moisture gets in behind the soil rockface and loosens localised areas, he says the NZTA and its consultants monitor the Gorge and are investigating ways to minimise further slip events including using monsoon buckets to fast-track slip-prone areas.
We thanks motorists for their patience and cooperation whilst driving through the Waioeka Gorge while we work to get both lanes open to traffic by the weekend, Mr Gliddon says.
Motorists wanting to find out more about the road works or obtain detour information should go to the NZTA's website at www.nzta.govt.nz(external link) or freephone 0800 4HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49).