Tākaka residents and regular users of State Highway 60 in Golden Bay can expect to see two lanes restored on a route that has had restricted access since late winter.
State Highway 60, Birds Hill, has been restricted to a single-lane and under traffic light management since heavy rain saw a significant movement of unstable land at the site in August. The section of highway is affected by slips above and below the road.
Mark Owen, Regional Manager – Wellington/Top of the South, says work is now underway to restore the road to two lanes.
“Contractors are already on site creating a second traffic lane at the overslip. The aim is to have two traffic lanes completed and available to road users by the end of next week.”
Mr Owen says the underslip is also being looked at, and design plans are being worked on.
“This will involve buttressing work and rockfill, and we’d hope to have work on that underway before Christmas. We intend to have the road two-laned over the summer period. That will provide some relief during the busy holiday and summer season.”
However, Mr Owen warns the stability of land at Birds Hill is a long-term issue. Removing the toe of the overslip could further destabilise the slope. It remains unstable and needs careful monitoring and management.
“There are no easy fixes for slip sites like this. Long-term solutions require careful and complex engineering solutions and also funding approval. Tākaka residents need to be aware that while we are doing our best to manage and maintain the road at Birds Hill, it is likely to continue to pose challenges and have more slips in the future.”
While work at the Birds Hill is underway, road users are asked to follow traffic controls and speed limits at the site. This is for the safety of drivers and roadworkers, and your cooperation is appreciated.