After working through a pretty windy and wet few weeks, urgent work to stabilise the riverbank opposite Tuhourangi Marae on the Te Puke Highway has been successfully completed.
Contractors are finishing the sheet piling work today (Friday 17 June). Their next job is to clear the site so it can go back to two lanes. This weekend the team will be backfilling the embankment and cleaning up the site. On Monday and Tuesday they will disestablish the crane and shift the temporary barriers back so the road can operate with two lanes.
Traffic will be operating normally from Wednesday 22 June.
“While we understand the timing of this critical work was not ideal, we appreciate your patience and support so we could get the job done”, says Waka Kotahi director of Regional Relationships, David Speirs.
“The site couldn’t be left exposed over winter or there was a risk the road would’ve slipped away”.
For the duration of the highway lane closure, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency removed the toll on the alternative route, the Tauranga Eastern Link Toll Road during peak hours.
“Removing the tolls encouraged traffic onto the Tauranga Eastern Link and helped reduce queues on the Te Puke Highway.
“Sincere thanks to Tapuika, Western Bay of Plenty District Council and NZ Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated for your co-operation and assistance in helping us develop a solution for the Te Puke community,” says Mr Speirs.
Stabilisation of the riverbank to minimise erosion and preserve indigenous fish in the Kaituna River has been progressing since October 2021. The next crucial step was the installation of the 54 steel sheet piles.
Now 54 soil anchors tied to a 42-metre-long retaining wall using driven steel sheet piles [each 20 metres deep] reinforce the river’s edge.
Once the temporary barriers are back in in place contractors will finish off the backfilling and drainage of the retaining wall, stabilise the slope with geofabrics and planting, and finally reinstate the road, guardrail and line marking. This project is expected to be finished by mid-August.
Once again, we thank everyone for your patience as we carried out this critical work to keep the Te Puke highway safe.