SH2 gorge closure deemed a success

One of the slips in the Waioelka Gorge. Photo: Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.

Wednesday’s closure of State Highway 2 between Waioeka Pa Road, south of Ōpōtiki, and the town of Matawai, has seen key activities completed as the area continues to recover from the effects of recent weather events.

More than 400 tonnes of material were removed from a number of slip faces within the Waioeka Gorge.

The main site, at an area known as Balls Bluff, saw over 230 tonnes removed, which has allowed the road to be re-opened back to its full width.

Further debris may move down from the slip faces over coming days, however preventative measures have been put in place to ensure these do not encroach on the road corridor.

These will then be removed under stop/go traffic management next week, as required.

The culvert replacement at the southern approach to the Motu Bridge was also successfully completed. The road remains open to one lane of traffic, which is being controlled by traffic lights. The site is expected to open to its full width in late-September.

The successful outcome was the result of a planned and coordinated approach, says Martin Colditz, Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay System Manager, Maintenance and Operations.

“Where possible, we look to take a coordinated approach to activity on the state highway network, and being able to bring this work together is a great outcome.

“Outside the two key activities, crews were also able to complete a number of routine maintenance activities, such as road surface repairs, guardrail maintenance, and signage maintenance. This coordinated effort reduces disruption to road users throughout the coming months, and helps ensure better journeys for everyone who uses the road.

“We appreciate road closures can be disruptive, and we want to thank the local communities, freight operators and regular users of this section of state highway for their patience and understanding regarding the need for this closure. By closing the road we achieved an outcome that wouldn’t have otherwise been possible,” says Mr Colditz.

Work to return the site near Motu Bridge back to full width is expected to continue until late-September.

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