The NZTA says inspection by geologists yesterday (15 May 2012) confirms the slip face remains relatively stable.
Bay of Plenty state highways manager, Brett Gliddon says the fractured area located on the Opotiki side of the slope had moved 60mm when measured on Monday, causing the NZTA to increase its slope survelliance immediately and have geologists return to further inspect this slip area.
Mr Gliddon says the results of the inspection provided the NZTA with assurance that closure of the temporary diversion road is not required at this time, because the movement of the slip is small.
"This slip movement has been confirmed as being minor and so we are happy that the temporary road can remain open at this time."
However, work will commence immediately to stabilise this and other parts of the slope, the work includes minor blasting and excavation and is expected to take about 4 weeks.
"We are continuing our excavation work this week to remove a mass of slip material known as the 'whaleback' which is located in the middle of the slip face, meanwhile this other slip face stabilisation work will start immediately so we can complete it as quickly as possible".
The NZTA says minor disruptions to motorists using the temporary road is possible when controlled blasting activity is undertaken.
"There may be short closures of up to 30 minutes when blasting on the slope occurs, but we will provide drivers with advance warning of these delays.
The NZTA thanks travellers for their continued patience and assistance while we have been undertaking the works along State Highway 2 through the gorge. If the temporary road does close unexpectedly the NZTA will advise motorists as soon as possible through our website www.nzta.govt.nz/waioeka-gorge(external link) or via our 0800 4 Highways (0800 44 44 49) number.
For more information please contact:
Senior Engagement and Communications Advisor
DDI 07 928 7908
M 021 021 67217