The finishing touches have been placed on a $2.5m safety project designed to reduce the risk of rock falls along a section of State Highway 3 (SH3), the NZ Transport Agency says.
A 1600 square metre steel net has been anchored into a section of the Mangaotaki Bluffs above SH3 and on Wednesday (March 11) native seeds and grass were planted on the lower cliff face with hydro-soil equipment to further stabilise the site.
The project, south of Piopio in the King Country began in September 2014 and involved clearing of loose material and securing the steel mesh to the cliff face with 500 rock anchors.
The Transport Agency’s regional performance manager, Karen Boyt says the Transport Agency sees the rock anchors and steel net as a long term solution to rock stability in this high risk area.
She says the Transport Agency will continue to monitor the other sections of the corridor as they work on a long term plan to minimise the risk of rock falls in the future.
“The safety of motorists on this stretch of road is of the utmost importance to the Transport Agency,” she says.
“We continually assess our highway network to identify and mitigate safety risks, and we adhere to internationally recognised rockfall safety guidelines.
“However the nature of New Zealand’s challenging geography means that the risks of rockfalls and other natural events can never be completely eliminated.
Ms Boyt says the Transport Agency is working with geotechnical experts to map high risk areas within the SH3 corridor from south of Te Kuiti to Mokau.
“This assessment will essentially map key problem areas so we can identify any further need for stabilisation or protection work and ensure we are increasingly aware of changes.”
Ms Boyt says the Transport Agency does everything possible to prevent rock falls and slips, however due to New Zealand’s challenging terrain motorists are urged to drive to the conditions and be ready for the unexpected when travelling.
The stretch of highway beneath the steel net at Mangaotaki Bluffs was down to one lane during the works and has now reopen.
For more information please contact:
Waikato and Bay of Plenty region
NZ Transport Agency
T: 07 928 7908
M: 021 928413