Detailed investigative work to reinstate access to Ōtaki Forks after a road closure last year has kicked off.
Ōtaki Gorge Road has been closed at Blue Bluff, about 12km from SH1, since September when the road slumped towards the river after heavy rain. The road has deteriorated since and is closed to both vehicles and walkers.
KCDC access and transport manager Glen O’Connor says the council is moving from a monitoring phase to active investigation with the aim of reopening access.
“When the under slip was discovered in September our initial plan was to let nature take its course and then see what we were dealing with,” he says. “The road has moved and cracks have continued to grow, however full failure of the slip has not occurred. The slumped material remains a significant hazard.”
The specialised geotechnical investigation includes test pits, core holes and installation of equipment to monitor ground water levels.
“This work will give us further information for what we need to do to reopen the road. It will tell us where the extent of the under slip is and where solid ground is located. This will be key information for our design process.”
The on-site investigative work is scheduled to be finished later this month. This leads onto developing options and a viable design for how the road can be reopened.
“We will keep updating the public as plans develop,” Mr O’Connor says. “This is a significant piece of work and at this stage there is no timeframe for when reopening could occur.”