Highway to be closed for investigation works

A section of a major highway between Rotorua and Whakatane will be closed at night so investigation work can take place.

New Zealand Transport Agency Bay of Plenty state highways manager Brett Gliddon said a section of State Highway 30 at Ruato Bay would be closed from 10pm on Sunday to allow for investigation works.

He said the investigation work was to find an effective solution to stabilise the cliff face which caused a large slip last year and reduced a section of this road to one lane

Mr Gliddon said he works will be undertaken at night to minimise disruption to traffic during the day when the road was much busier.

He said the works, which would be managed by the Rotorua District Council, would start from 10pm on Sunday February 10 and continue through to Wednesday February 13, finishing each morning at 5am.

"Due to the limited space available the closure of SH30 at Ruato Bay is essential to allow the investigation works to be carried out that will determine what foundation needs to be designed for the new road," Mr Gliddon said.

A section of the road at Ruato Bay, along the shores of Lake Rotoiti, will be closed near the Lake Okataina turnoff, about 20km from Rotorua city.

Mr Gliddon said road users during this period were encouraged to alter their travel plans if they coincided with the closure times, or alternatively, if travelling to/from the Eastern Bay take SH2 and SH33, via Paengaroa, to avoid the site altogether.

"A detour will be in place and drivers are asked to use SH2 and 33 if travelling from Whakatane and Kawerau; or SH33 and SH2 if travelling from Rotorua to Whakatane. This is a longer distance, adding up to an hour to journey times so motorists will need to allow adequate time" Mr Gliddon said.

"There is no ideal time to carry out investigations and we need to get this work done so we can design and build a safe permanent solution."

Following the investigation works, the next process is for the preferred solution to be designed and the works tendered to a contractor to carry out the repairs.

"It is likely that this construction work will require full closure of the highway, for periods during the day, over some weeks. The full closure is required due to very limited road and construction space available," Mr Gliddon said.

"The permanent repairs are likely to be underway by late April to July 2013, the road will remain a single lane with signalled lights controlling traffic until the works commences in late April."

Mr Gliddon said SH30 was an important link between Rotorua, Kawerau, Whakatane and the wider Eastern Bay of Plenty. He said it was also a key heavy vehicle route to the Port of Tauranga and ensuring the security of this road was vital for the Bay of Plenty's economy.

Motorists wanting to find out more about these road works or the detour route should go to the NZTA's website at www.nzta.govt.nz or phone 0800 44 44 49.


- Rotorua Daily Post

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