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The hole where SH25a once stood now measures around 110 metres across. Photo: WAKA KOTAHI

Digging deep for a solution on State Highway 25A  

State Highway 25A is once again being monitored for damage, as Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle bears down on the Coromandel Peninsula. 

Associate Transport Minister Kiri Allan visited the Coromandel and SH25A today to better understand the size of the job ahead. She was joined by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency’s Regional Manager of Infrastructure Delivery, Jo Wilton.

“Waka Kotahi has begun the work needed to get a full picture of the damage to SH25A, but the right solution cannot be established until preliminary work is complete,” Ms Wilton said. 

The slip now measures around 110 metres across and is highly unstable, Waka Kotahi said, adding the coming weather event could potentially bring new challenges. 

A full geotechnical assessment cannot be undertaken until the site has dried out. However, early investigations are underway with drones.

“The geotechnical investigations will help inform the best option to reinstate the highway. We are exploring a range of options for this site – but we won’t know more until the experts can share their findings,” Ms Wilton said. 

“This is a critical thoroughfare for Coromandel residents and visitors, and what we do know is that any fix will be complex and will take considerable time. It’s imperative it’s restored in a way that ensures resilience and long-term confidence for the peninsula.”

Waka Kotahi is continuing to monitor the site for further movement and changes in geotechnical conditions.

“The community can be assured that we have the expertise to get this done. From specialist roading and geotechnical engineers, to our local maintenance crew who will establish a safe access to allow contractors and machinery in,” said Ms Wilton. 

Geotech work still to be done includes drilling boreholes and excavating test pits to assess the stability of the underlying foundation at the site and surrounding area. This needs to be done from the bottom of the slip and remote options are being explored to ensure worker safety.

Waka Kotahi is also working to mitigate the impact the closure of SH25A has on the rest of the Coromandel state highway network by assessing changes in traffic patterns and clearing drains and culverts in readiness for the next weather event.

Waka Kotahi expects to be able to share more information about potential solutions with the public and stakeholders in the next fortnight.