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Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

Work is about to get underway to safely re-instate State Highway 5 to two lanes at the site of a large dropout between Te Haroto and Tarawera.

The dropout on State Highway 5 between Te Haroto and Tarawera

The road has been down to one lane since 8 July and a construction site will be established this week to allow work to get started next week. Work is expected to take approximately 10 weeks, dependent on weather and availability of materials, machinery and personnel.

Geotechnical investigations of the erosion site last week found a failure of the existing culvert system has most likely caused a sinkhole. Over the past few weeks, soil erosion has been exacerbated through heavy rain.

Waka Kotahi Hawke’s Bay System Manager, Martin Colditz, says the work will see a buttress with engineered fill built against the 8.5-metre vertical face to provide support and prevent further erosion affecting the highway.

“The first step will be to cut an access-track halfway down and create staging for a digger. This will enable us to carry out the backfilling works without the need for anyone working at the bottom of the site.”

A 3D model of the area will also show where stormwater can be discharged after the culvert has been repaired and upgraded.

“We want to thank all road users for their patience while we undertake these important repair works. We know how important reopening the road to two lanes is to the people who live and work alongside and who regularly travel SH5, and we want to make sure that we can do this safely,” says Mr Colditz.

The dropout on State Highway 5 between Te Haroto and Tarawera