SH29 to close again next weekend

By Sandra Conchie

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State Highway 29 at Ruahihi Bluffs has been reopened to a single lane for the rest of the week, but the discovery of more loose rocks will see it closed again this weekend for blasting.

This section of the road was closed so that rocks on the bluffs could be removed to minimise the risk of further rockfalls on to the state highway.

Brett Gliddon, the NZ Transport Agency's Bay of Plenty regional state highway manager, said SH29 had been secured at Ruahihi to ensure the safety of travellers for the remainder of the week.

The work to remove unstable rocks was undermined by recent weather conditions and, over the weekend, geologists discovered a large free-standing column of loose rock which would require blasting, he said.

Mr Gliddon said a plan would be put together this week for the blasting activity but the road had been reopened, with safety measures in place.

"An earth bund is in place to provide protection and to ensure the road is safe for drivers to use for the rest of the week. We are expecting to close the road again next weekend so this can occur.

"It's disappointing that we will have to close the state highway again but the safety of road users is always our top priority and this work does need to be undertaken now."

Drivers will be advised during the week about the exact details of next weekend's road closure, he said.

"We really appreciate that drivers are inconvenienced when we have road closures. Drivers have been very understanding."

Mr Gliddon said before starting their journey motorists should check with the NZTA's freephone 0800 4 HIGHWAYS or 0800 44 44 49, or visit the website www.highwayinfo.govt.nz for up-to-the-minute information on road conditions.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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