The NZ Transport Agency is urging motorists to observe speed restrictions and make way for cyclists as it progresses the next stage of reinforcement work on the Rocks Road cliff.
Acting Highways Manager for Nelson-Tasman Mark Owen says work to stabilise the cliff begins this week and will be in place for the next month.
“We’ve been carrying out regular inspections of the cliff face, and we’ve identified the need to carry out maintenance and repair works to the existing section of rockfall protection netting.
“We need to restrict the road to a narrower traffic lane in each direction so that barriers and debris screens can be installed to protect road users from falling rocks
“This means cyclists will need to merge with the traffic stream, and it’s really important that motorists take extra care and hang back to ensure cyclists can merge safely. To keep everyone safe, we’re putting in force a speed limit of 30km/h, and it’s crucial that everyone observes it.”
Mr Owen says brief closures will also occur at times to enable access to the site, but these will be scheduled for off peak periods to minimise delays to traffic. The work will be carried out during the daytime seven days a week, as weather conditions permit.
Further work on other sections of the cliff face is currently being planned and this work is expected to be completed later this year.
“People who use Rocks Road regularly will be used to this work happening, and we know it’s still a bit of a pain, and we thank everyone for bearing with us. Ultimately, a few delays are a small price to pay for a safer, more secure road. With winter bearing down on us, the people of Nelson will take comfort from knowing that we’re giving these cliffs a good deal of TLC and doing our best to stay one step ahead of Mother Nature.
“Rocks Road carries 20,000 cars and trucks every day between Port Nelson and Tahunanui, and it’s also an important and popular route for cyclists and pedestrians.
“The cliff face above Rocks Road is subject to ongoing weathering from storms and other weather events, which results in rocks falling on the road from time to time. We’re acutely aware of the risk these periodic rock falls pose for motorist, cyclists, and pedestrians. We therefore carry out regular monitoring of the cliff face to identify areas of risk, and then to get them secured before they present a significant hazard.
Meanwhile, routine maintenance work is proceeding on the Rocks Road seawall. The work mainly consists of minor patch repairs to damaged concrete. Members of the public are asked to keep clear of work sites while this work is occurring.