The NZ Transport Agency says it is aiming to have a single lane open to traffic by the middle of this week on a section of State Highway 1 in the Far North closed since Friday by a washout.
11 pipes which are 2.1 in diameter have been laid to form a new culvert under the road and the stream has been diverted to run through the pipe, says the Transport Agency’s Northland System Manager, Jacqui Hori-Hoult.
Backfilling is now well under way to cover the pipes up to road level. About 5,000 cubic metres of material is needed to fill the gap left after the washout created a hole about 20 metres long and 4-5 metres deep.
“The conditions on site and difficult access have meant progress has been slower than anticipated. Work continued tonight until nightfall. There is no overnight work for safety reasons, but work will resume at first light tomorrow,” says Ms Hori-Hoult.
The road will be built up to create a single lane for traffic to cross, leaving room on both sides for excavators to continue filling in the area around the pipes.
Once the road is reopened, traffic will be managed via stop/go points to allow one direction of traffic through and allow work to continue. Motorists should expect some delays.
“The Transport Agency understands the closure is frustrating and we thank people for their continued patience and understanding, especially towards our road crews on site as they work to reopen the road,” says Ms Hori –Hoult.
Meanwhile, two more successful convoys have gone through the forest tonight with about 20 vehicles in each direction.
The convoys were under police supervision for the forty minute journey along a private forestry track. That route is only open to emergency services outside of the organised convoys.
There will be morning and evening convoys again tomorrow for essential travel only. The morning convoy will leave at 7:30am for southbound traffic from the corner of Far North Road and Trig Road and at 8:15am for northbound vehicles from 113 Hukatere Road at the end of the sealed section, says Ms Hori-Hoult.
Motorists will be travelling at their own risk through the off road route.
If you don’t have to travel, please delay your journey until the road to the top of the North Island is open, says Ms Hori-Hoult.
Schools are open, though pupils who can’t get past the washout have been told to stay at home.
The Transport Agency is continuing to work with local authorities, emergency services and the Ministry of Civil Defence to ensure the welfare of local communities and visitors.
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