Repair site on SH1 at Utiku completed before Easter


State Highway 1 at Utiku is now fully open and back to 100 km/h in time for the Easter long weekend.

Over the past three months, crews have been working on a 400 metre stretch of the state highway at Utiku to excavate and rebuild the road.

In August last year, a reactivated landslide, or ‘slow slip’ resulted in cracking of the road surface at Utiku. This area has been prone to movement and cracks in the past and contractors have previously sealed cracks as part of ongoing maintenance in the area.

Work to build back this section of road has seen crews excavate up to 4 metres of asphalt and earth, before rebuilding with a mixture of aggregate and geo grid stabilsation material.

This week crews have sealed the last stretch of road and have installed safety barriers.

While the repair works have been underway, the stretch of road has been narrowed and under temporary speed restrictions.

Manawatū-Whanganui and Taranaki System Manager Liesl Dawson says it’s been a disruptive few months for road users through the area.

“It’s been important to take the time to stablise this stretch of road to ensure we can open back to two lanes safely and efficiently.

“We want to thank all road users and local communities for their patience over the past few months. This is a crucial part of our network for freight and for other road users, it’s good to be able to open fully before the long weekend,” says Ms Dawson.

“We also want to highlight the commitment from our contractors working on site to get this stretch of road repaired and ready for safe, efficient travel as quickly as possible. To have this completed before the long Easter weekend is welcome news.”

Using foamed bitumen stabilisation in the road layers provides a durable construction and allows faster installation over other stabilisation methods.

“Foamed bitumen has been used in other parts of the country and has a positive effect on the state highway network.

Further work is underway to improve drainage and to control and monitor underground water levels which can affect ground movement. Some of this will begin shortly and the remainder be completed in the 2024-25 season. The vast majority will take place off the road and won’t affect traffic; however temporary traffic management may be necessary from time to time to ensure safe movement of machinery.