Traffic is being allowed more time every day to go through the massive slip that has closed State Highway 11 between Kawakawa and Paihia for three months.
NZ Transport Agency said it is increasing public access to SH11 past the Lemons Hill slip with new road opening hours. The road will remain open the whole of this weekend, which will be good news for those going to Paihia for the Mother's Day Fun Run/Walk on Sunday.
From yesterday, the road will be open overnight every week day from 4pm to 8.30am. It will be closed from 8.30am to 4pm to allow slip clearance work during the day.
The road had been opened for only limited periods over the past three weeks.
"Our crews have been working hard to get the slip cleared and also open the road for local communities. We think the new opening hours are a good way of doing both and shows the progress we've made to stabilise the hillside. We are on track to have one lane open around the clock in the next couple of weeks," NZTA's Northland system manager Jacqui Hori-Hoult said.
The road will also be open this weekend.
"The weather forecast for the weekend is not good, so we'll not be able to do any work on site that requires the road to be closed. So it will be open from 4pm Friday until 8.30am Monday morning to one way traffic under stop/go traffic control," she said.
"This means that the road will be open for those travelling to or from Paihia for the Mother's Day fun run and walk on Sunday."
A huge slip closed the road on February 13 and limited opening hours started on April 23. The daily convoys have been subject to checks of the hillside and the weather.
"Safety is our main priority and the road could still be closed again at short notice if necessary. We thank motorists for their patience and understanding," Hori-Hoult said.
She said there are still a couple of days of planned work that will require the road to be closed for extended hours while a crane works in the area.
''We will give advance notice of when that is planned.''
When the road is closed, the sign posted detour is via State Highways 1, 10 and 11. With increased traffic on the detour, drivers should allow up to 30 minutes extra for the journey between Kawakawa and Paihia.
''We ask motorists to drive with care and to the road conditions, and to allow enough time to get to their destination safely,'' she said.
People can sign up at http://www.nzta.govt.nz/sh11-lemons-hill-slip to receive an email update on slip clearing progress and details of how and when the road will be reopened.
Or go to http://www.journeys.nzta.govt.nz/sh11