A black 900mm pipe, 730m long, snaked its way up No 1 Rd last week.

A major element of the Waiāri Water Supply project, it was the second section of pipe to be installed - the first, slightly smaller in length, was put in place in March.

The pipe was ''pulled'' through a drill hole by the drilling rig with more than 70 10m-long rods attached to each other, then attached to the pipe to pull it through.

It was slow going, with the pipe moving 10m at a time as each rod was removed at the drilling rig end once it emerged from the drill hole.

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The pipe had been welded together and tested in a paddock at the bottom end of No 1 Rd.

A mud water recycling plant was used to recycle the drilling mud used in the process, reducing the amount of drilling mud needed and also the amount of water needed.

Throughout much of the preparation work over several months, two-way traffic flow on No 1 Rd was maintained but, during last week's work, one-way flow and stop-go controls were necessary.

The work was carried out by Smythe Contractors Ltd.

Co-owner Kevin Smythe said, logistically, everything had to come together to make the pipe pull a success.

''We had to find all the services and get the continuity of the line - that was a huge job,'' he said.

The job's complexity was increased due to the narrowness of the road, it being on an incline, and the traffic volume, which was greater due to it being the kiwifruit season.

He said residents and businesses along the road had been kept informed.

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''People have been very good and tolerant of us and that's because we have worked with them,'' said Kevin.

The pipe is the longest single section of pipe to be installed on No 1 Rd and marks the 40 per cent mark in the No 1 Rd section of the overall Waiāri Water Supply Project. It sits roughly 4m below the level of the road.

Contractors will now move up the road to start on the next stage of the works.

■ Te Puke Highway between Bell Rd and Welcome Bay Rd could reopen to two-way traffic as early as today. The road has been closed to southbound traffic only since January. The reopening is weather-dependent.