Traffic management in place as engineers assess cracks in SH1 at Utiku


Waka Kotahi will be undertaking further assessment where fresh cracks have developed in the road on State Highway 1 between Taihape and Mangaweka.

As part of this, from tomorrow morning (Thursday), road users can expect a 30km/h temporary speed limit through the area and a temporary re-alignment and narrowing of traffic lanes.

A reactivated landslide, or ‘slow slip’ has resulted in cracking between Micklesons Road and Utiku South Road at Utiku. This area has been prone to movement and cracks in the past and contractors have previously sealed cracks as part of ongoing maintenance in the area.

The discovery of fresh cracks in the road has resulted in the recommendation for further geotech assessment and real-time data monitoring.

Waka Kotahi Regional Manager of Maintenance and Operations Jaclyn Hankin says a cautious approach is being taken until further geotech assessments can be carried out.

“As always, the safety of everyone who uses this section of road remains our top priority. We also know how critical it is to ensure SH1 remains open and accessible, and have worked hard to identify the best way to keep the road open, safely, while we undertake the required assessments.

“Once real-time data monitoring is in place and crews are on site undertaking visual assessments, if at any point we have concerns about the safety of the road, we won’t hesitate to close it. We’re also reminding road users to expect the possibility of stop/go traffic control at times, if further visual surveys and work is needed.”

This stretch of road has been resealed to minimise the damage from the cracks and it has been operating under a 50km/h temporary speed limit since this was completed last week. However, this will be reduced further to 30km/h to ensure the safety of all road users by diverting them away from the area being monitored.

“The visual geotech assessment and real-time data monitoring will let us know whether the cracks are getting bigger and from there, we’ll be in the best position to determine our next steps,” says Ms Hankin.

Ms Hankin is thanking all road users in advance for their cooperation in slowing down and driving safely and driving to the conditions.

As monitoring of the site takes place, Waka Kotahi will continue to provide information when there are updates available.