Desert Road to close for slip repair work

In News2 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineNovember 4, 2022

SH1 will close between Rangipo and Waiouru next week, to allow critical work activities to take place at two underslip repair sites near Tree Trunk Gorge on the Desert Road.

The closure will be in place between 7am and 5pm, for both Wednesday 9 and Thursday 10 November. During this time road users will need to use State Highways 46, 47, 4 and 49 to detour around the western side of Mt Ruapehu via National Park.

“While the disruption this closure causes is unfortunate, closing the road is the only suitable option due to the location contractors need to work in,” said Cara Lauder, Waikato System Manager, Maintenance and Operations.

“Since the slips occurred in August, material has continued to fret away at the edge of the road. We are now at a point where we need to install soil anchors into the slip faces. This requires machinery that needs to be placed in the existing road corridor, which prevents vehicle access past the site,” she said

“The closure is only expected to last two days, however an additional day or two may be needed should we encounter any unforeseen issues. Work to date has included drilling through lahar material, which is extremely hard work, and has caused slower than expected progress.”

A further closure will be required late November/early December for shotcreting (spraying of concrete) to stabilise the new slip face.

“This work involves a crane, which will be set up at road level, and will be placed across both lanes. We will communicate the exact date of these closures closer to the time, once we can state with confidence when they will occur,” said Lauder.

While the road is closed, routine road maintenance activities, such as vegetation control and signage maintenance, along with road surface repairs, will also take place.

The work to repair these slips is complex, with the majority of activity being undertaken below the road to minimise impacts. The road is expected to be fully repaired, and back to two lanes, before Christmas.