The owner of the Whanganui property that collapsed on to State Highway 4/Anzac Parade in April is hoping work to retain the site will begin shortly and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency hopes it will be reopen fully in "next couple of months".
Stephen Carle, who owns the properties at 5 and 5A Waitere Road in Bastia Hill, said he was likely to be $150,000 out of pocket due to the slip, which will require geotechnical engineers to remove a large boulder and retain the land using barriers and catch-fencing.
The properties have a long history of being prone to slips. In 2018, contractors were required after rocks and debris fell onto the road below.
In March this year, a further slip occurred after 24 hours of heavy rain. The slip was cleared and the road returned to two lanes, but weeks later in April, another bout of heavy rain sparked the land to crumble once again.
Since then the road has been reduced to just one lane of traffic under stop/go traffic management during daylight and temporary traffic lights during the night.
Asked when the retaining work would begin, NZTA told the Chronicle they hoped the road would reopen fully in the "next couple of months".
"There is still plenty of design work to do before we can begin on the physical works [to retain the cliff], but we hope to have the road open to two lanes within the next couple of months."
The cost to repair the slip is being split between both NZTA and the landowner, with EQC set to pay Carle compensation for the approximately 14sq m of land lost in the slip. That payout will be put towards the repairs, but Carle doesn't expect it to cover the full cost.
He told the Chronicle he would love it if work could begin "yesterday", but accepted there were delays with the contractors required to complete the work.
"The bank has signed off on the cost, we're just waiting for NZTA.
"We'd hoped that they'd have made a start on it by now. We're starting to get a bit anxious that nothing's happened."
The slip and associated delays are also proving expensive for Carle.
The property on the very edge of the cliff is currently under a dangerous building notice, which means that while the owners and contractors can enter the structure, it cannot legally be occupied.
"We've still got a mortgage to pay, but because the house isn't occupied we're out of pocket $500 a week, on top of the $150,000 we'll have to pay for repairs."
Whanganui District Councillor Helen Craig has also expressed frustration, saying the delays were "concerning".
"The road is single lane and controlled by lollipop persons at peak hour traffic and traffic lights at other times. I might remind everyone that this is part of the State Highway network and dissects our city transport network," Craig said.
"I'd ask NZTA to stop mucking about and bite the bullet – get that bank repaired. The ongoing... traffic disruption and frustration, which all road users have to bear, is mounting."