Work to begin on clearing Blue Bluff slip
Work will soon begin to restore road access to private property and popular recreational facilities within the Tararua Forest Park.
Contractors are expected to begin work to clear and stabilise a large slip on the Ōtaki Gorge Road at Blue Bluff within the next two weeks.
Mayor Ross Church says geotechnical investigations over the last two months show an estimated 45,000 cubic metres of rock and other debris will need to be removed to allow the hillside to be stabilised.
“Our monitoring has given us a much clearer picture of what’s going on up there and we’re really pleased to be able to get cracking on getting the road re-opened.
“Clearly it’s important for the property owners and the Department of Conservation staff who have been cut off by the slip. It’s also good news for the many people who have been missing the tramping, camping and other outdoor activities on offer in the Tararua Forest Park.”
Mayor Church says the work could take two to three months and has an estimated price tag of $500,000, almost half of which will be covered by a contribution from the NZ Transport Agency’s emergency works fund.
“We know the length of the closure has been frustrating for a number of people and we’re grateful for everybody’s patience while our investigations and monitoring were underway.
“We’re confident that as long as the weather and conditions at the site remain on our side we’ll be able to have the work completed and the road reopened before winter. It’s clear from our monitoring that this area will remain geologically active and will require ongoing management.”
Mayor Church says it is still important that, for their own safety, people stay away from the slip site.
Ōtaki Ward councillor Penny Gaylor says the people of Ōtaki will be delighted to hear about work getting underway.
“This is great news for Ōtaki. The facilities within the forest park are a real draw card and bring people to local businesses.”
Vehicles involved in the work at the site will be accessing it via private property, meaning no disruption to regular users of Ōtaki Gorge Road.
Background information on the slip site is here.