Latest from NZTA – Manawatu Gorge

Friday 18 November 2011, 11:27PM
By Tararua District Council

Good progress with forming a track through land above the slip face to tackle the problem from the top down. Work is also progressing with a tree clearing operation on the hillside to prepare for the benching activity.

Engineers and geologists are continuing to assess the slip-face and surrounding area. The latest information we have is that the ‘lip’ at the top of the slip is still very unstable, which will affect how close our machines can get to it. Once in place, our machines will begin to remove material from the top of the slip in steps – called “benches” in engineering terms.These will create level stable areas from which machines and men can operate safely. W eare setting up the work site today and expect to have our machines in place to start the benching process by next Wednesday.

A tree crew is working to clear the trees and scrub from the top of the slip so that we can get a good look at it. Once this work is done, we can begin using machinery. Throughout the clearing process, spotters will continually be scanning the slip face watching for anysigns of movement, which, if detected will mean work stops immediately, and we will reassess before continuing work.

Down in the gorge itself, river engineers are investigating any impacts the slip is having on the river. Preliminary reports suggest that there are currently no issues of concern.

On an unexpectedly positive note, our discussions with DOC revealed that they’ve been wanting to make a track through this particular area for some time. Their preferred route was slightly different to the one we proposed and we have realigned our track accordingly -a win for both sides.

As with the river, environmental controls have to be in place when carrying out this work to ensureour work causes as little damage as possible. As part of this control process DOC have established10 photo-monitoring points to record the condition of and vegetation around the track area before work started. Further photographs will be taken after the track is formed, then again in six months,one year and two years. Here’s a copy of one of those ‘before’ shots.

Alternative routes

Work is well underway on the three slow vehicle bays on the Saddle Road.

Crews are continually monitoring the state of this route and making running repairs as required.

Various areas have been identified as needing repair, including repairs to a culvert yesterday morning.

The team were on site immediately carrying out urgent repairs—much as they were last week when there was a minor slipon the Pahiatua Track.The team have also re-marked, signed and changed traffic priorities on the detour route within Ashhurst to ensure that the diversion is as easy to follow as possible.

It has been a busy week with many more such weeks ahead of us.

This update, along with all preceding ones, plus media releases and photographs are now on our new, dedicated gorge web page This page will go live on Monday 21 November. Please feel free to put a link from your own organisation’s website to this page if you find you are fielding a lot of queries yourself.