Rockfall cleared, road almost back to usual

The slip loomed over SH8 near the intersection with SH8B and the Deadmans Point Bridge, Cromwell....
The slip loomed over SH8 near the intersection with SH8B and the Deadmans Point Bridge, Cromwell. PHOTOS: NZ TRANSPORT AGENCY
A new rockfall barrier will be installed near Cromwell following a slip overlooking State Highway 8.

Yesterday, contractors completed initial works following a month-long project which included sluicing work involving helicopters with monsoon buckets dropping water on the slip, the establishment of safe benches/flat areas for diggers to work from and an abseiling team clearing cracked or loose rock, over the first dew days.

All of the dislodged rock material had been trucked from the site by yesterday, the NZ Transport Agency said.

Traffic restrictions had been in place near the Deadmans Point Bridge since mid-July.

Agency maintenance contract manager for Central Otago Mark Stewart said containers would remain on the highway shoulder, but would be moved back to allow traffic into the main traffic lanes.

"However, the speed limit will be maintained at 30kmh given the narrower road width."

There would no longer be delays for rock clearances, and apart from the area with a lower speed limit past the containers, the driving journey would be close to business as usual again, Mr Stewart said.

He thanked all regular drivers on the route for their patience and care around crews.

"We intend to construct a new rockfall barrier along this section of highway in the coming months to deal with larger as well as smaller rockfall. That is being investigated now and design will follow.

"The old rockfall-catch fence along SH8 worked well for smaller rocks, but not so much high velocity, larger rocks from higher up the cliff face."

Additional rock bolting to stabilise some parts of the rock face may also be needed.

 

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