A slip across a section of Helena Bay Hill has been cleared but it may take a bit longer to stabilise.

Contractors using two trucks and a digger worked for most of yesterday and council staff hoped the road would be opened to two lanes late in the day.

Whangarei District Council roading manager Jeff Devine said the slip was of medium size and, once the slip was cleared away, an assessment of the road and site would be done to see what remedial work was required.

Read more: Helena Bay Hill traffic still flowing thanks to local with digger


Peter Brown, of The Gallery and Cafe Helena Bay Hill, said he had been phoned and alerted to the slip which he understood had come down about 8.30am yesterday.

"I went down there and saw a guy on the other side with a small digger who cleared the road enough to let traffic through," Mr Brown said.

A larger digger was seen heading to the slip about 11am to start clearing the muddy mess.

From the air the black ribbon of tarsealed road wending its way through native bush is punctuated by an orange mass of clay spewing across the road. Trees protruded from the slip at precarious angles.

A white ute nearby was dwarfed by the slip and a man in high visibility orange also appeared minute.

It's not the first time a slip has caused major traffic disruption for regular users of the steep road.

A decade ago on March 29, 2007, storms dumped plenty of rain on the region causing the waterlogged hill to slip, taking out part of the coastal road. Residents living in the area had to use a long detour through rough roads to get to Whangarei.

That repair job, which cost $900,000, involved constructing a rock buttress and retaining walls, and back filling the hole in the road with about 150 truckloads of suitable aggregate. The road was open on July 20, 2007.