The NZ Transport Agency will make a decision late Tuesday afternoon on whether it is safe or not to re-open State Highway 1 on the Brynderwyn Hills in Northland.
The main road transport link between Northland and Auckland was closed yesterday (Sunday) because of an underslip on the southern side of the Brynderwyns after heavy weekend rain. The underslip is affecting about 20 metres of the northbound lane, and there is an 8 metre drop to the ground below.
“We had originally thought we would have to keep the highway closed until the end of the week, but it may now be possible to re-open the highway tomorrow afternoon to light vehicles only,” says the Transport Agency’s Regional State Highways Manager, Jacqui Hori-Hoult.
“We started excavations on the site today to assess the stability of the hill, and we’re pretty happy with what we have seen. Repairs might be easier than we had originally thought. However, we do need to wait another day to be absolutely sure that it is safe to have traffic using this section of SH1 again.
Ms Hori-Hoult says if experts give the all clear, one lane will be re-opened to motorcycles, cars and light commercial vehicles only. Traffic management will be in place to control north and south bound traffic, and the speed will be reduced temporarily to 30 kph.
“The critical period will be tonight and tomorrow. We can understand people wanting the highway re-opened as quickly as possible, but if we don’t get that all clear the road remains closed.”
Ms Hori-Hoult says because of the location and size of the underslip, it will still be too risky to re-open the Brynderwyns to heavy vehicles until the Transport Agency has completed full repairs.
In the meantime, there are two alternative routes available for all traffic travelling between Northland and Auckland. People driving north are advised to use SH12 and Paparoa-Oakleigh Road. Those heading south can travel through Waiapu and Mangawhai. The detours will add between 30 and 40 minutes to travel timers.
“These are rural roads, not state highways, and we urge drivers to take care for the safety of themselves and the communities they are driving through. Please reduce your speed and keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front in case to you have stop suddenly,” says Ms Hori-Hoult.
For more information please contact:
Auckland/Northland Media Manager
NZ Transport Agency
T: 09 928 8720
M: 027 213 7616