A dropout up to the edge of the Tarawera to Te Haroto sector of the State Highway 5 Napier-Taupo road is not at significant risk of continuing to drop away, according to Government highways management agency Waka Kotahi NZTA.
Agency Systems Manager for Hawke's Bay Martin Colditz said contractors have been closely monitoring the dropout, which is at the edge of the southbound lane east of Stoney Creek and about 70km from Napier, since the heavy-rain "weather events" of March and April.
Daily users have said on social media there has been an issue for as much a year, and NZTA says it was aware of the subsidence before the March-April rain, which made it worse.
Fencing has dropped away, as has plastic orange safety mesh installed by contractors and now suspended across the face of the dropout, which has crept to within a metre of the white line at the left-hand side of the road.
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While it now appears to have undermined the road, Colditz said whilst there is "no significant risk currently of the road continuing to drop away", NZTA is continuing to "monitor the site closely", with contractors hoping to install reflectorised bollards this week, dependent on availability of the bollards.
He said contractors would also be looking at options for diverting water away from the culvert and would be meeting with NZTA and geotechnical engineers to discuss options for remediation.
"Once this has taken place, we will be in a better position to confirm the nature of the work and timelines," Colditz said.
Axel Alexander, administrator for the SH5 Napier-Taupo Issues Facebook page, commented a week ago on images posted by highway-user Graeme Clark that it was "unbelievable how much more has slipped away."
Rob Johnson commented: "This has been there untouched for well over a year. You can't tell me they've been too busy fixing potholes to fix this."
A truck driver commented: "I try to avoid getting too close but if there is oncoming traffic it's not an option."
A spokesperson for Hastings District Council, which has been among those concerned with the February 18 lowering of the speed limit from 100km/h to 80km/h on more than 70km of the highway, including the area of the dropout, says the Council hasn't been involved with the dropout issue as it is highway (a responsibility of NZTA).