Tutukaka land slip a road too far for locals

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A temporary access might be created this week to let affected householders drive in and out of their road. Photo/John Stone
A temporary access might be created this week to let affected householders drive in and out of their road. Photo/John Stone

It could be two or three weeks before anything can be done about a section of road on the Tutukaka Coast that dropped a metre when the waterlogged land under it gave way.

Up to 20 homes on cul-de-sac Rauhomaumau Rd have been cut off on the other side of the 20-metre long slump which happened a week ago after post-cyclonic rains.

Permanent residents who choose to stay have arranged for cars to be parked on the town side of the slump.

The slip on Rauhomaumau Road, Tutukaka is still blocking the road and a temporary fix planned for Thursday would allow plasterer Steve Harrison to get his work vehicle on site.
The slip on Rauhomaumau Road, Tutukaka is still blocking the road and a temporary fix planned for Thursday would allow plasterer Steve Harrison to get his work vehicle on site.

Some residents have moved out temporarily and several houses are holiday homes which were empty at the time.

One unoccupied house sitting below the road and the wedge of land that has moved under it has been condemned.

Whangarei District Council (WDC) contractors said they hoped to make a temporary access "for light vehicles only" over the hill above the slump by the end of this week.

"Hopefully we'll get that done, but it will be two or three weeks before we know as much as we need to about the road itself," WDC infrastructure general manager Simon Weston said.

Meanwhile, contractors have made a walking track above the slump, and council staff are setting up a liaison team to answer residents' questions or help with specific problems. Yesterday staff went door to door talking to affected residents.

One woman said her daughter had arrived from Auckland for Easter with her baby and a carload of gear, including a portable cot.

The woman, who asked not to be named, said it was worrying as well as difficult crossing the slip several times to get from the car to their house.

"The road dropped quite a lot in the first couple of days. We didn't know how much of the hill might go.

"It doesn't seem to have moved any further since then but we have no idea what it would be like if we had more heavy rain."

Work on several house constructions along the road will be held up while the road is out of action.

Plasterer Steve Harrison was able to carry on working on a new house by driving his vehicle to the slip, lugging his gear across the walking track to where the builder had a vehicle, then driving up to the job.

While the hilly, winding coastal road appeared nearly deserted when the Advocate visited yesterday, Mr Harrison said in the mornings and evenings "there were people everywhere" - walking around the sunken road to get to cars on the other side.

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