The NZ Transport Agency says it plans to re-open a storm damaged section of State Highway 1 near Kawakawa in Northland tonight (Friday 18 July).
“We’re on the last leg of our work to construct a detour past the underslip and all going well we should have traffic moving again around 8pm,” says the Transport Agency’s Regional Journey Manager Jacqui Hori-Hoult.
The highway, which is the main road link to the far north, has been closed since last Saturday when a 70 metre-long section of the highway collapsed during a fierce storm at Maromaku.
Transport Agency contractors have been working around the clock since the closure, constructing a 100 metre detour past the underslip.
“Getting SH1 re-opened was our number one priority after that storm and we’re rapt that in under a week our team have constructed a new road from scratch,” says Ms Hori-Hoult.
“We can’t give a precise time yet for tonight’s opening because there’s still work to do on site, but the detour will be open to all traffic.”
Ms Hori-Hoult says there will be a 30km/h in place, and we will have manual traffic control in place at night.
“The detour is temporary and it is not as wide as the state highway. It is important that everyone observes the speed restrictions we have in place. They are there for the safety of all road users and our contractors, who will still be working on site.”
Before the highway can be re-opened, the new surface needs to be sealed, lanes marked, and a final inspection completed to ensure the detour is safe for people to use.
Ms Hori-Hoult has congratulated the Transport Agency’s contractors – Fulton Hogan and Opus – for getting the detour built so quickly.
“Our contractors have been working 24/7 in very challenging conditions just a few metres from a dangerous underslip. We all live here and we are well aware of the importance of this highway for our region.” Ms Hori-Hoult also thanked Northlanders for their patience during the past week.
“Your support and understanding has been an important part of completing the detour successfully and we’re all delighted to be able to get the highway re-opened so quickly.”
The Transport Agency will continue to monitor the detour at Maromaku while it now starts to focus its attention on permanent repairs to the underslip itself.