The NZ Transport Agency is urging motorists to stay up to date with road conditions between Opotiki and Gisborne (SH2) this weekend as heavy rain in the forecast will likely require the closure of the road through the Waioeka Gorge as a safety precaution. The most likely time of the closure, based on current forecasts, is from around midday on Sunday to midday Monday.
Transport Agency Regional Transport System Manager, Rob Campbell asks those travelling during the school holidays to check the Transport Agency’s Journey Planner website, www.journeys.nzta.govt.nz(external link), or ring 0800 44 44 49 to stay up to date with the latest conditions.
“We have been lucky to have good weather since the slip came down, but this has also meant that the area hasn’t been tested by a heavy rain fall, which is quite different to the water used in sluicing work to clear the slip.
“Safety is our top priority and if there is any risk to the safety of drivers or contractors on site we will need to close the road,” say Mr Campbell.
The gorge will likely close when heavy rain sets in on Sunday, and will be assessed by geotechnical engineers on Monday morning to determine the stability of the slip site.
The NZ Transport Agency is monitoring the weather forecast closely, and will announce any changes to road access with as much warning as possible. Motorists are encouraged to travel before midday on Sunday or to use SH35 as an alternate route.
“Our contractors are doing a great job, working seven days a week when the weather allows, and they’ve made good progress towards restoring 24 hour access to the route. The construction of the two-lane road around the slip is going well, and with another spell of good weather we are optimistic that the job can be completed this month,” says Mr Campbell.