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SH7 Omoto landslide between Greymouth and Stillwater background and where to from here

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State Highway 7 access to Greymouth from Stillwater and Kaiata will remain closed while the landslide at Omoto continues to show signs of ongoing instability, says Moira Whinham, Maintenance Contract Manager, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.

State Highway 7 access to Greymouth from Stillwater and Kaiata will remain closed while the landslide at Omoto continues to show signs of ongoing instability, says Moira Whinham, Maintenance Contract Manager, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.

The Transport Agency closed the highway at 5 pm Friday after an acceleration in slumpage was recorded with the heavy rain that day.

The landslide moved around 2.5 metres overnight Friday night to Saturday morning and has continued to move throughout the past weekend.

Ms Whinham warned local people who have been filming at the site that they are putting themselves in considerable danger given its instability and liability to move suddenly.

For background on this slip site, which has been moving since mid-August, please check the project page: nzta.govt.nz/sh7-omoto-landslide

In the past few weeks, it has moved more than ten metres, more than half of that accelerated movement in the past fortnight.

“Prior to this current period of instability, the Omoto slip site has been relatively stable since the 1980s, and easily managed by highway crews with minimal disruptions for road users,” says Ms Whinham.

“We are concerned that people have been walking over the site over the weekend. This is a risky place while the slip is moving and people are putting their lives in danger if it was to drop suddenly, as it has done in recent days.”

What is the Transport Agency doing?

In the short term, the Transport Agency is investigating a temporary fix while the permanent repair is worked through. New Zealand’s best geotechnical advisors are working on this solution currently and gathering all the information needed.

However, until the slip stops moving, short term solutions are not able to be put in place. Once that movement stops, temporary repairs will get underway.

The Transport Agency encourages people to drive to the conditions on the detour route which passes through Taylorville, a very small and quiet settlement on the Grey River’s north bank.

What is KiwiRail doing?

KiwiRail’s Executive General Manager Operations Siva Sivapakkiam says:

  • The rail line at Omoto will be repaired in the short-term. Long term remediation is being established for this slip site to ensure resilience of the location.
  • Temporary repairs cannot begin until the slip settles.
  • In the meantime, the TranzAlpine will continue between Christchurch and Arthur’s Pass, with passengers bussed between there and Greymouth.
  • However, we are also investigating whether or not the service could instead run as far as Moana if the line is not able to be fixed within a reasonable time frame.
Aerial view of the landslide at SH7 Omoto

Aerial shot of the Omoto landslide, showing the rail and road, Grey River to the north, taken Saturday morning 19 October, 2019.

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