Beach Rd sites to be protected by rock armouring

Rocks are stored at Beach Rd as up to four sites along the scenic route south of Oamaru await erosion protection work this summer. Photo: Hamish MacLean
Rocks are stored at Beach Rd as up to four sites along the scenic route south of Oamaru await erosion protection work this summer. Photo: Hamish MacLean
As erosion continues to bite into Beach Rd, up to four sites along the coastal scenic drive south of Oamaru await rock armouring.

Waitaki District Council roading manager Michael Voss said the work - expected to be completed before the end of February - was ''business as usual'', and the erosion that occurred during storms at the end of last year was unlike some of the major slips that had occurred in the road's past.

''What you're seeing is the typical nibbling away that we get at random events,'' Mr Voss said.

''I can't, I suppose, reinforce enough the fact that a lot of these events are random and it's not like we know that part of the road is going to fail soon. We don't. That's the whole point.''

A 75m stretch of rock armouring would be required below a section of road where a roughly 40m stretch of coast was damaged leaving the road vulnerable. The sea reclaimed land about 1m from the road, but it was ''not unsafe by any means''.

Three other sites, where lesser damage occurred, were being assessed so the required protection work could be completed at the same time.

It was too early to estimate costs for the work.

The erosion along a roughly 8km stretch of the coastal road has for many years presented a challenge for the council: about 1.7km of road has been closed between Gardiners and Thousand Acre Rds; the council realigned 720m of the road north of Awamoa Creek; and most recently in Beach Rd north of Kakanui engineers created a dog leg around a major slip in 2014.

The road had progressively moved inland over the years.

''You've got to bear in mind you're on about the third Beach Rd, roughly,'' Mr Voss said.

''The other Beach Rds have been eroded away.''

''We recognise its criticality as far as being an iconic drive for North Otago. We recognise that and it has a higher value because of it.''

hamish.maclean@odt.co.nz

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