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Access tracks are being built for geotechnical drilling rigs at the Kōpū-Hikuai Rd slip site. Photo: SUPPLIED/NZTA

Work begins on Kōpū-Hikuai slip

A temporary path is currently being made above the Kōpū-Hikuai Rd slip to allow geotechnical engineers to gather soil samples from above the missing section of road. 

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency said the temporary road would help determine the best way to restore the state highway, after a huge slip near the summit destroyed more than 100 metres of road after recent storms. 

Three options are currently being considered to fix State Highway 25A Kōpū-Hikuai Rd: building a bridge to replace the lost section of road, building a road around the slip to bypass the lost section of road, or building a retaining wall and then rebuilding the road.

“We need good weather to do this work – we’re hoping the tracks needed for access can be completed within two weeks,” Waka Kotahi said.

A project team has been established and is focused on developing and assessing the options for the rebuild of the road. This includes a Waka Kotahi senior project manager, Beca as consultants, who will prepare the detailed options assessment report, and the contractor Higgins, who is currently managing the closure and constructing the access tracks for the geotechnical drilling rigs.

Other companies involved include consultancies who will manage the resource consenting and land access outside the road reserve, if it’s needed.

Waka Kotahi estimates the access tracks will be built by mid-March, when geotechnical investigations on site will begin. 

The options assessment report is expected to be completed and the best option determined in late April, with the option and contractor confirmed in May.

“Please note these times are an estimate. Weather and many other factors may cause delays.

“Meanwhile, other important work is underway, including investigations into construction material availability, bridge and retaining wall options, identifying any known archaeological sites and discussions with the consenting authorities on what other environmental investigations should be undertaken.”

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