Following the fatal accident last month in which a vehicle was struck by a large boulder, the NZ Transport Agency has been undertaking investigations to assess the extent of mitigation works to be carried out to stabilise the southern section of the Mangaotaki Bluffs on State Highway 3, near Pio Pio.
Geotechnical specialists have been working their way through a detailed inspection and rock scaling (removal of small rocks) process over the last few weeks.
Transport Agency’s Highways Manager, Kaye Clark says this work has helped to develop a clearer understanding of what further remedial work is needed to stabilise the cliff face.
The results of their investigations concluded that blasting is required to remove larger rocks which are potentially unstable and could come down at some point in the future. This blasting and cleaning work is expected to begin next Wednesday (30 April).
In the interim this section of road has been protected from the cliff face by concrete barriers, and with only a single lane open to traffic. The road and cliff face is also being monitored regularly.
Following the blasting work, the rock-face will be mapped to assist with on-going monitoring of the cliff face.
Mrs Clark says to ensure the safety of motorists during the blasting process this section of SH3 will be temporarily closed at this location 12.5km south of Pio Pio on Wednesday 30 April, between 11.00am to 3.00pm.
A detour will be in place along Aria Road and Totoro Road which will add approximately 13 minutes to normal journey time.
“Once the rock face is deemed stable the road will be reopened to traffic. However, the single lane with traffic management in place will remain in place to allow for further monitoring before we reopen the road to two lanes. We hope to be able to open the road fully to two lane traffic on Friday 2 May” says Mrs Clark.
“We appreciate motorists’ cooperation with this temporary closure, which allows us to complete the cliff face remedial and cleaning up works. We know it will cause some inconvenience and we thank motorists for their patience,” says Mrs Clark.
For up-to-date state highway travel information visit www.highwayinfo.govt.nz(external link) or phone the Transport Agency's 0800 4 HIGHWAYS information line to get the latest updates or to report incidents or hazards on the state highways. Alternatively you can sign-up via www.onthemove.govt.nz(external link) to receive free email alerts designed to inform you before you start your journey about notable incidents, road conditions or roadwork’s on the state highway network.
For more information please contact:
Waikato and Bay of Plenty region
NZ Transport Agency
M: 021 021 67217