The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) is advising motorists that State Highway 29 over the Kaimais is closed due to the risk of rocks falling on the highway at the Ruahihi Bluffs (approximately 17km west of Tauranga near the Ruahihi Power Station).
Bay of Plenty state highways manager, Brett Gliddon, says following the heavy rain overnight, rocks on the Ruahihi Bluffs have been undermined and now pose a potential risk to motorists.
Mr Gliddon says the highway will remain closed while contractors assess the stability of the rocks and motorists are being encouraged to use alternative routes and plan ahead to include the extra time required for their journeys.
“As always, we will do our best to keep delays to minimum and get the road open as quickly as possible, but we cant predict how long the road will remain closed at this time. People travelling between Tauranga and Auckland or Tauranga and the upper Waikato should take SH2. People travelling between Tauranga and the lower Waikato should take SH36 and SH5.”
A detour route is also in place and traffic controllers will divert traffic via Poripori Road through to Crawford Road, Wairoa Road and back onto SH2. However Mr Gliddon says the detour route will add an additional 30 minutes to journey time.
“Motorists could be delayed on this detour by the single lane bridge on Crawford Road. That’s why it would be preferable for people to use the alternative state highway routes instead wherever possible.”
“We apologise for the inconvenience, but safety of highway users must come first. We’d like to thank motorists for their patience and we hope they will be able to make the best use of the diversion and alternative routes provided.”
Mr Gliddon say’s before starting their journeys people should check with the NZTA's freephone 0800 4 HIGHWAYS or 0800 44 44 49, or its website www.highwayinfo.govt.nz(external link) for up-to-the-minute info on road conditions.
A further release will be issued once more is known about how long the highway will remain closed.