Buller District Council will open the Karamea Highway ‘Bluffs Road’ today to allow traffic to access and leave Karamea throughout the day after recent heavy rain caused flooding and slips on the highway.
Council’s Manager infrastructure delivery, Eric de Boer says: “During the last week all traffic over the Karamea Bluff was under a strict access control plan, with three escorted trips through per day. This allowed our contractor to make good progress on road stabilisation”.
“We are now at a stage where the road can be reopened from next week, but there will still be sections of road that are under active traffic control and users may experience some delays while contractors’ heavy machinery is working in those locations.”
While the road will be open to traffic; road users are still required to follow all temporary traffic management and directions of staff onsite, he said.
“All efforts will be made by staff onsite to minimise any disruption to journey time over the Karamea Bluffs; however, users will still need to be prepared to wait at certain work sites.”
Council says the main site that may experience delays is the ‘Seven Sisters’ site on the Karamea side of the Bluffs. This site will have large ground stabilisation equipment working in the centre of the road; meaning the road may be closed for up to an hour at a time.
To inform of any significant delays at the ‘Seven Sisters’ site, the public variable message sign boards that are located along State Highway 67 near the Pines Tavern, at the Mokihinui Lewis Street corner and at the Little Wanganui bridge will provide advance warning to motorists.
WestReef staff and their contractors have been hard at work removing 30 large slips and widened critical areas to allow vehicles to safely pass through the most severely affected sections of the highway.
“I am incredibly proud of the work our contractors have done on stabilizing the areas of concern along the Karamea Highway. There is however more work to do to ensure full restoration and to re-establish service levels along this critical roading lifeline that leads into the Karamea Basin,” said Mr de Boer.
“We thank all the road users for their patience and support while we continue this work for the foreseeable future.”
Buller District Council said it was working with Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency to ensure all repairs are designed and built with safety and resilience as a priority.