Friday 9 December 2022
Matakaoa and Wharf roads in Hicks Bay will remain closed over the holiday season due to road damage caused by the November 2022 rainfall event.
Council’s Director Community Lifelines David Wilson says road dropouts on Matakaoa Road had closed the road to trucks and cars.
“We are aware that residents have either been using 4WD bikes or walking past the dropouts to access food and supplies.
“The decision to keep Wharf Road closed was difficult as we know how important access to the Hicks Bay wharf is to locals and visitors. However, debris from Matakaoa Road continue to fall onto Wharf Road and would place people at risk.”
Mr Wilson says over the last two weeks engineers inspected and surveyed the area and developed a safe solution to reopen Matakaoa Road.
“Council would like to thank local residents for providing cultural and ecological advice that was used to develop this plan.”
Contractors will clear vegetation and widen the road to enable an improved 4x4 motorbike track before Christmas, at this time barriers will be placed across the road to prevent other vehicle types from accessing the road. There will also be drainage improvements to divert water away from the existing dropouts causing further damage.
In late January, early February, a specialist explosive contractor has been secured to widen the road around the dropouts, this will take approximately three weeks to complete.
Mr Wilson says the goal is to gain approximately 5m in width for the existing road. Due to health and safety rules around this type of work, extensive planning is required.
“The project team have to ensure the blasting operation is safe and that it doesn’t activate new land subsidence issues or cause damage to known wahi tapu sites. “The blasting plan is being developed by contractors and peer reviewed by Council staff simultaneously to reduce timeframes.”
Once the blasting material is cleared, culverts will be replaced and drainage improvements undertaken with a view to reopen the road on March 1, 2023.
Council will update the residents now that a plan has been developed.
“We understand the residents’ frustrations with limited access, however we have to protect the health and safety of our contractors at this challenging site.”
The estimate to reopen these roads is about $400,000, says Mr Wilson.