Slip-repair work set for Parapara
Work is expected to start on Monday on a temporary road to reconnect State Highway 4 — the Parapara — between Raetihi and Whanganui, with the aim of opening one lane as soon as possible.
The road has been closed since early last month after it was significantly damaged by a major slip.
The site continued to move in the weeks following the slip, but geotechnical engineers last week said it had stabilised and was now safe enough for ground crews to begin work.
“Our crews are now preparing to enter the slip site, where we will begin drainage and revegetation before starting work to build a temporary alignment to reinstate the road,” NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) regional transport systems manager Mark Owen said.
“Early indications suggest that a full temporary road could be completed early next year; however, this is subject to further assessment as we work our way across the slip face.
“It is likely that once the temporary road is open, there will be limitations on its use. The road will be under constant observation and if deemed unsafe at any time, will be closed immediately,” he said.
There are several other problem sites along State Highway 4 between Matahiwi and Whanganui, where in some places the road is down to one lane. NZTA has a summer work programme for these sites.
Some are subject to final consenting and land owner agreements, so the programme is likely to take two years.
NZTA’S recommended detour is via State Highways 1, 49 and 3.
Alternative routes, including Whanganui River Rd and Fields Track, are not suitable for heavy vehicles or large traffic volumes.
A full temporary road across the slip could be completed early next year.