The Takaka Hill Road into Golden Bay, SH60, will close to all traffic at 7pm this evening (Friday, 23 March) but may close earlier if rain resumes and conditions deteriorate.
In the meantime, the road is currently open in both directions to convoys.
“After further discussions with crews and geotechnical advisors on site, we have made the decision to close the road at 7pm, however, we may have to close it earlier,” says Frank Porter, NZ Transport Agency System Manager.
“If people can get over the hill sooner rather than later, that is a good idea. More rain is forecast for later today.”
The highway is normally open 6 am to 8 am Mondays to Saturdays for the morning convoy but tomorrow the opening will be delayed by at least an hour to ensure the road is safe after today’s rain.
“We will be checking the condition of the road and slopes at first light Saturday morning and will reassess the situation at 7am, 24 March.”
Ideally, the road will open for two hours from close to 7am to 9 am but that will be confirmed tomorrow morning:
The lack of daylight means crews cannot go in to check the condition of the road and slopes any earlier. “Safety is and has to remain our first priority both for road users and our crews,” says Mr Porter.
Crews and geotechnical experts are monitoring the road and slopes to ensure road users are safe throughout today’s and tomorrow’s convoys.
“We are building more and more resilience into the road as we do more work, but given the extent of the damage across the Riwaka side of the hill, it is going to be some time before the road is as stable as it was before ex-tropical-cyclone Gita,” says Mr Porter.