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Work underway to repair SH35 sites damaged in 2020 floods

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Construction work is underway this month to permanently repair two separate sites on State Highway 35 that were damaged by severe rain and floods in June and July last year.

Since the June/July 2020 rain events, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has been working to prepare the sites for the repair work, including undertaking geotechnical investigations, detailed design and resource consent applications.

“Crews began work this week on a 100-metre section of State Highway 35 south of Ruatoria, to repair damage to the road caused by slips during the rain event,” Regional Transport Systems Manager Oliver Postings says.

“Several slips occurred above and below the road, so some big repairs are needed. We’ll be constructing two retaining walls at this site, both beneath the road, and resurfacing the pavement to get the road back up to two lanes. This work is expected to take around eight weeks to complete.”

The second site undergoing repairs is beside the Hikuwai River, north of Tolaga Bay. Work is expected to begin later this month.

“The repairs at this site will also involve the construction of a retaining wall, followed by pavement repairs. This work is expected to take around five weeks to complete,” Mr Postings says.

“Both sites are currently down to one lane, with temporary traffic lights in place. These will remain in place while work at each site is underway, and we may need to add stop/go traffic management at odds times during the construction periods.”

State Highway 35 traverses unstable and highly erodible terrain, and is vulnerable to failure, particularly during high rainfall and storm weather events like that experienced last winter.

In addition to the emergency works underway this month to repair the sites damaged in the June/July 2020 events, Waka Kotahi will also be undertaking emergency works at a separate State Highway 35 at Huia Hill, north of Hick’s Bay.

This site, which was also damaged by severe rain in June last year, is currently going through the design and consenting process, and it is hoped that construction can start in the coming months.

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