Monday, February 26, 2024

Soil issue delays bridge reopening

Contractors working on the Lang’s Beach bridge on Cove Road have encountered further challenges, delaying the reopening of the bridge until Wednesday morning, Northland Regional Council has advised.

Northland Transportation Alliance Maintenance & Operations Manager, Bernard Petersen said as the contractors had excavated to repair the abutments at each end of the bridge washed out in Friday’s weather event, they found the soils to be more saturated than expected due to high groundwater levels.

“They’ve had to excavate more than expected, and consequently backfill more than expected,” said Mr Petersen.

“We’re now intending to have this bridge open by Wednesday morning (29 February) – we realise people have been looking forward to it happening sooner and we’re sorry for the additional day of this impact on their lives.”

The reopening of the Langs Beach bridge will restore an important link for those who live and work around the area, however the official reopening of Cove Road as an alternate route while State Highway 1 remains closed in the Brynderwyns will have to wait until Friday, said Mr Petersen.

“Our team have been through Cove Road this morning having a broader look and have found a number of other sites of concern – mainly where the road shoulder has been washed out and the road surface has been undermined,” he said.

“We’re re-allocating resource from other sites to the repairs. Most of them are fairly easy and can be addressed with rock spall or bench backfilling. It’s all about getting the water off the road and protecting the weak road shoulders.”

Further south on Cove Road on the Mangawhai side, there is still a slip to be cleared from Cove Road near King Road. The start of work on this is reliant on giving power company Northpower the opportunity to complete the relocation of a high-voltage power line around a landslip, Council said in a statement.

Saturated soils have also slowed repair work on the underslip on the Kaiwaka-Mangawhai Road near the Hilltop Road intersection.

Mr Petersen said the contractors have finished the excavation phase and were now backfilling and compacting their way up to the road surface. Originally expected to be completed by midweek, this will now also reopen on Friday.

He said both this and the Langs Beach bridge will open with unsealed surfaces.

“As unsealed sections on otherwise-sealed roads, they’re not going to look pretty but they will be easier to maintain in the short term. If we seal them and there’s still ground movement underneath, it creates re-work which is in no-one’s interests at the moment.”

For updates on local roads in Kaipara and Whangarei Districts: https://www.kaipara.govt.nz/news/post/494-Mangawhai-severe-weather-event-l-Roading-updates

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