The section of Ōtaki Gorge Road known as Blue Bluff remains unstable and will likely remain closed for the peak summer period.
It means the popular Ōtaki Forks camping area and Tararua Forest Park 12km east of State Highway 1 will be inaccessible by road in the coming months.
The area has in recent weeks shown significant movement and is slipping. Kāpiti Coast District Council access and transport manager Glen O’Connor says more slipping could be sudden and extensive, and happen at any time.
“Safety is our key concern and we simply can’t keep the road open while this is the situation,” Glen says. “Essentially we are in nature’s hands and have to wait for a slip to occur and for the area to settle before we can begin any work on reinstating road access.”
Weekly monitoring shows that recently cracks have increased in size and new cracks and holes have formed. Once the slip does occur it will take time to clear and reinstate access. That might mean having to build a new section of road.
“We want people to know this is not a quick fix and we ask for patience.”
Ōtaki ward councillor and transport portfolio holder James Cootes says it’s disappointing the camping area and forest park will be inaccessible.
“With summer approaching I’m sure many were planning to spend some time at what is one of the jewels in the Kāpiti crown, but safety must come first,” he says.
The Department of Conservation is working to find alternative public access to the huts and walks in Tararua Forest Park in time for summer.