Works to repair the cliff above State Highway 30 (SH30) at Ruato Bay will start soon after the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) and its project partner, Rotorua District Council (RDC), awarded the contract for the repairs to HEB construction.
SH30 at Ruato Bay has been reduced to one lane since a large rock fall last year. The contractor is expected to be on site from mid August with the repairs expected to be completed by early December, this work will focus on stabilising the rock face using anchor bolts and wire mesh.
The investigation, design and consenting phases for the rock face works have taken longer than initially expected. This has been due to the need to find a design that ensures the highway remains open to traffic doing construction and is appropriate for the challenging ground conditions and the surrounding environment.
The original plan was to widen the road away from the rock face, and provide rockfall protection with a catch fence; however investigations concluded this would require fully closing the road for several weeks - causing significant issues for the local community and motorists. Instead the Transport Agency has decided to keep the road in its current location and use wire mesh to protect the rock face.
The Transport Agency’s highways manager, Brett Gliddon says “To stop any further rock falls a 400 metre steel mesh will be constructed to cover the entire cliff face. The mesh is similar to that used successfully along State Highway 36 in the Mangorewa Gorge between Rotorua and Tauranga.”
The work is estimated to cost $1.7M for both the mesh bolting and road repairs. The weather will have an influence on the timing of the repairs, but the project team are aiming for an early December completion.
A single lane, with a concrete barrier for protection, will remain in place and will continue to be controlled by traffic lights throughout the repairs.
Mr Gliddon says “We appreciate that there has been a considerable delay in getting the road fully open and want to express our thanks to local residents, drivers and the community for their patience while a suitable solution was identified to minimise any further disruption to motorists who use this road.”
The NZTA’s website is regularly updated with information about most closures and detours at www.nzta.govt.nz/traffic(external link). This information is also available by phoning the NZTA’s free phone on 0800 4HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49), which can also be used to report any significant road issues or hazards which people may come across during their travels.
The NZTA also uses other technology to provide information to enable drivers to make better informed choices about their travel. On The Move is a free service which enables people to sign up for information about crashes, road works and driving conditions on their frequently used routes - to sign up, go to www.onthemove.govt.nz(external link).
The road will be fully reopened when the work is completed, the NZ Transport Agency thanks motorists for their patience whilst this work is being undertaken.