Ōtaki Gorge Rd closed due to unstable banks
Update Saturday 29 August
Blue Bluff on Ōtaki Gorge Road has opened to light traffic only.
The slip material at Blue Bluff will be cleared by late afternoon and the road will be passable.
We will likely be there again on Monday and a stop/go in place.
Update Monday 17 August
Work began late last week to stabilise the slip-prone bank at Blue Bluff on Ōtaki Gorge Road.
Council contractors are removing debris off the top of the slip and pushing it down onto the road to be taken away. An estimated 5,000 cubic metres of material (about 700 truckloads) will be removed.
Workers are also digging steps into the slope to catch further debris that may fall, decreasing the angle of the slope and putting in drains to re-direct any water away from the slip face.
The road will be closed at Blue Bluff for approximately two more weeks until the work is completed.
Update Friday 14 August
Ōtaki Gorge Road at Blue Bluff will remain closed for four to six weeks due to ongoing stability issues of banks alongside the road.
The closure will allow an investigation and remedial work to be carried out.
The road was closed on Tuesday after a dropout occurred on the lower bank at Blue Bluff. Debris is also falling off the top bank in this area where several slips have occurred recently.
Pedestrians will be able to get through this area of the road, but council is warning people to stay away from the site unless absolutely necessary due to the risk of falling rocks.
“We are keen to open the road as soon as we can, but safety needs to be our number one priority,” Group Manager Infrastructure Services Sean Mallon says.
“We are looking at what options we have to stabilise the area and have engaged a geologist to provide expert advice early next week.”
“We may need to remove up to 10,000 cubic metres of unstable material off the top bank. This could require explosives to bring down, as the site is currently too dangerous for anyone to get to the material.”
“The dropout on the lower side of the road will also require an engineer-designed wall to prevent it collapsing again.”
Council has made contact with the Department of Conservation, which has a campsite at the end of the road, regarding temporary access.
Only one property owner is affected and that person has also been contacted.
“Once we have had a more detailed review of the site and what sort of repair work will be involved, we will be able to quantify costs. We are also working with the NZ Transport Agency on securing an additional subsidy for the work.”