Road crews will use explosives to help clear a huge slip which closed State Highway 11, between Paihia and Kawakawa, in Northland over a month ago.

Work is at a point where dynamite blasting is now a safe, viable option for moving a lot of the remaining loose material from the hillside in a controlled manner, says NZ Transport Agency system manager Steve Mutton.

There was still a significant amount of earth and rock sitting above the roadway and crews were now in a position to change the method and bring a lot of the remaining loose material down the face of the slip, he said.

"We're conscious of the importance of the link to the Bay of Islands for locals and tourists and we're working to reopen the road as soon as we can."


The slip has blocked the road since February 13, just south of Opua in the Lemons Hill area.

Crews were hoping to start blasting work this week and let traffic through the area in the next two to three weeks.

In the meantime a signposted detour was in place. - NZN